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729 NONDUKE STUDENT/INTERN
The Superfund Research Program (SRP) is a network of grants funded by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) designed to seek solutions to complex health and environmental issues associated with toxic chemicals found at the nation's hazardous waste sites. The Duke University NIEHS-funded Superfund Research Center (SRC) focuses on early, low-dose exposures to toxins and their developmental impacts that are usually only evident during later life stages.
Full-time summer research internship opportunities are now open for both undergraduate and Master’s students (can be studying Biology, Psychology, Neuroscience, Engineering, Environmental Sciences, Science Communication, etc.) in the SRC projects and cores below.
1. Cholinergic & Monoaminergic Mechanisms of Persistent Neurobehavioral Toxicity. This project focuses on what happens in the brain when someone who is already being exposed to one chemical (nicotine from cigarette smoke or dexamet has one from preterm labor therapy) is exposed to chemicals such as organophosphate pesticides, PAHs, and polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs).
2. Persistent Mitochondrial & Epigenetic Effects of Early Life Toxicant Exposure. Growing evidence suggests that chemicals of interest to Superfund stakeholders can have persistent, toxic effects on the mitochondria, and that some individuals may be more sensitive to the effects due to genetic differences. This project aims to test which important Superfund chemicals and chemicals of emerging concern are mitochondrial toxicants; whether effects from exposure are persistent throughout life and into subsequent generations; and whether the effects are stronger for individuals from some genetic backgrounds.
3. Mechanisms & Consequences of Evolved Adaptation to Environmental Pollution. This project continues the Duke SRC’s long-standing research in the Elizabeth River in Virginia. For years, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) were discharged into the river from several wood treatment facilities that employed creosote. Duke SRC researchers study a fish species native to the area, the killifish (Fundulus heteroclitus) and its response to living in contaminated environments. Their research has found that killifish at contaminated sites exhibit pollution-driven adaptation to high levels of PAHs at these sites. Current research is examining fitness costs associated with this evolved resistance, and with the killifish and zebrafish models, mechanisms of PAH developmental toxicity and later life consequences of embryonic exposures to low levels of PAHs.
4. Neurobehavioral Toxicity Core. This core supports the Center’s projects by providing information concerning neurobehavioral consequences of exposure to toxicants, including pesticides, flame retardants, and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. Neurotoxicant impacts are evaluated using in vivo models with rats, zebrafish and killifish. Neurobehavioral functions investigated include sensorimotor function, learning, memory, attention, and emotional response. This core connects the findings of mechanistic studies to functional consequences in living organisms.
5. Research Translation Core. The Research Translation Core (RTC) uses science communication techniques to share the Center’s research results with critical members of the scientific, governmental, and lay community. The RTC works closely with the Community Engagement Core to support their mission of engaging communities around environmental health. Interns with this core will support research translation projects and activities to communicate research findings to scientists, policy-makers, and interested/affected community stakeholders; they will work on a variety of projects, but typically focus on one project central to their time at Duke. In the past, work has focused on the effectiveness of fish consumption advisories and communicating information about soil contamination to community gardeners.
6. Community Engagement Core. This core works with communities across NC affected by environmental contaminants. Communities contact Duke SRC with short-term requests for information related to environmental contamination or with proposals for longer-term engagement through participatory research projects and/or education and outreach activities. By “community engagement,” we mean working in an ongoing way with a community, listening closely to their needs and learning from their experiences.
7. Analytical Chemistry Core. This core fosters the evaluation of contaminant exposure to humans and wildlife and the determination of contaminant distribution in the environment. The core provides routine quantitative and qualitative analysis of organic and metal contaminants on a routine basis to investigators in support of Duke SRC research projects. The ACC alsodevelops novel methods for emerging contaminants of concern in environmental and biological samples on an as-needed basis.
Finally, the ACC serves as a consulting and training resource for cutting-edge analytical chemistry needs within the Duke SRC. Positions are open to students currently enrolled as an undergraduate or master’s student. Candidate must be legally authorized to work in the USA. Visa sponsorship is not available.
All summer trainees will be paid a competitive hourly wage of $12/hour and are expected to work full-time for 10 weeks for a maximum of 35 hours per week (start/end dates are flexible between May–August). Students will visit other Superfund Center labs located in Durham, participate in weekly research discussions and lab meetings, present their research, etc.
In addition to applying through Duke HR, applicants should email:
(1) cover letter explaining their educational background and interest in research + specifying ONE OR TWO projects of interest, and
(2) resume or CV addressed to: Sarah Phillips, [email protected]
Application deadline is Friday, February 1, 2019. Email questions to Sarah Phillips (see above). Do not directly contact individual PIs. More information about the Duke University Superfund Research Center can be found here: https://sites.nicholas.duke.edu/superfund.
Job Family Level
Full Time / Part Time
Regular / Temporary
NSOE ESP Div
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