Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania


Interdisciplinary Superfund Research Training Program


Trevor M. Penning (BGS) and Reto Giere (SAS)


The mission of the Interdisciplinary Superfund Research Training Program is to provide cross-training in environmental science and environmental health science to ensure that all trainees master the necessary skills and have a sufficient knowledge base to understand the hazards of superfund waste sites and use this knowledge to help remediate these sites and their ensuing health effects.


To provide a unique interdisciplinary training program within the Penn-SRP that maries the disciplines of environmental science (Depts. of Earth and Environmental Science and Biology, School of Arts and Sciences (SAS)) with environmental health sciences (Certificate Program in Environmental Health Sciences, Perelman School of Medicine (PSOM) for pre- and post-doctoral fellows who wish to conduct research in Penn-SRP laboratories. Trainees will acquire a unique skill set to tackle ecosystem, remediation, and biomedical and health effects of superfund hazardous waste sites so that they can be employed either in academia, industry or in government settings (e.g. EPA, ATSDR or CDC).

Curriculum of Interdisciplinary Training Program

PhD Students in the Certificate Program
in Environmental Health Sciences*
MS/PhD Students from the Masters in Environmental Studies of Biology Graduate Group**
Fall 1st Year Fall 1st Year
Introduction to Superfund Sites and Health Effects of Hazardous Waste – PHRM657 / ENVE 657
Spring 1st Year Spring 1st Year
Research Methods Course
ENVS 533
Molecular Toxicology
Summer Rotation–
Field Work or Capstone Project with Community Engagement
Summer Rotation– Biomedical Research
Fall 2nd Year Fall 2nd Year
ENVS Elective Occupational and Environmental Health
PUB 503
PhD from BGS Graduate Group PhD from SAS Graduate Group
Participation in monthly SRP Research Presentations
Participation in Monthly NIEHS SRP Trainee Webinars

* Certificate in EHS students also take: Introduction Genome Science; Cell Biology & Biochemistry; Molecular Toxicology and Occupational and Environmental Health, and a full semester course in Biostatistics — can be supported by T32ES019851-01A1.

** Masters in ES Students take four foundation courses, one from each of the following areas: Environmental Policy; Environmental Advocacy and Education; Environmental Biology; and Environmental Sustainability.

*** ENVS Electives can also be taken in the Spring of the second year.


New PHRM Course: Introduction to Superfund Sites and Health Effects of Hazardous Waste-PHRM 657/ENVS 657

Elective Courses in Environmental Sciences

The following electives in environmental sciences are available to trainees.

  • ENVS 605: Bioremediation – Fall
  • ENVS 616: Risk Assessment – Fall        
  • GEO 656: Fate and Transport of Pollutants – Spring
  • GEO 661: Ground Water Hydrology – Spring

Other Requirements

Penn SRP Trainees will be expected to attend the SRP/Center of Excellence in Environmental Toxicology Seminar Series; present their work at retreats and symposia; participate in SRP webinars held by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS); and have the opportunity to attend the annual SRP meeting sponsored by NIEHS.

Research Opportunities
(Rotation and Full-Time Research) – SRP

Pre-doctoral and postdoctoral fellows in the Penn-SRP can choose to conduct research in the SRP-Projects and Cores.

Translational Training Opportunities

The diversity of trainees in the Penn-SRP indicates that the program provide extraordinary experiences for those interested in the broader concept of translational science. Thus this core will also provide training experiences through the community engagement and the research translational cores on an individual basis.

Coordination of Training Experience with Community Engagement Core

The Co-Director of this Core, Dr. Edward Emmett, has experience in developing capstone community-based research projects for the MPH program and significantly several of these have occurred in the Asbestos-exposed Ambler Community already. In addition, Dr. Emmett has been past-director of the residency program in occupational and environmental medicine in which clinicians were trained in risk assessment and risk communication. The didactic portion of the curriculum that involves teaching communication skills, how to work with community stakeholders, and environmental justice concepts can be adapted for interested Penn-SRP trainees. This program has developed innovative teaching methods. Representative of these is a method of teaching risk communication and media skills. The class spends an afternoon in a fully-equipped Television Studio with a group of media experts. Trainees are given a didactic presentation on basic communication theory and then participate in a number of role-playing exercises which take them through a variety of occupational and environmental health scenarios. The videos are then played back with instructive comments by the media experts. Invariably there is a remarkable improvement in performance and skill development through the session. We anticipate that several Penn-SRP trainees will be interested in risk communication and how communication can be affected by risk perception. Those individuals interested in this training will be required to visit the BoRit Asbestos Superfund site in Ambler. They will also speak with concerned residents and participate in one or more of the Stakeholder Advisory Board Meetings that will occur regularly in the Ambler Community.

Coordination of Training Experience with Research Translation Core

The Co-Directors of this Core, Dr. Schenkel and Mr. Pepino, have experience in internship programs run by the Center for Technology Transfer (CTT) (for those interested in the protection and commercialization of intellectual property) and the EPA (for those individuals interested in regulatory science). Trainees interested in these options can join the CTT fellows program or the EPA Fellows Program.


All matriculating graduate students in:

All students accepted into the Certificate Program in Environmental Health Sciences.

Former trainees . . . what are they doing now . . .?

Atu Agawu, MD, MPH (04/01/14-05/30/15), Resident at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia | CHOP, Philadelphia, PA

Mitchell Cheung, PhD (04/01/14-03/31/16), Research Assistant Professor, Fox Chase Cancer Center, Philadelphia, PA

Justin T, Clapp, PhD, MPH (08/01/15-05/31/17), Assistant Professor of Anesthesiology and Critical Care at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA

Britt Dahlberg, PhD (04/01/14-05/30/15), Director for Applied History, Chemical Heritage Foundation, Philadelphia, PA

Cedric Gonneau, PhD (08/01/14-10/30/17), Lecturer, Centre Européen de Recherche et d’Enseignement des Géosciences de l’Environnement | CEREGE, Provence, France 

Yuwaraj Kadariya, MD, (04/01/14-03/31/16), Research Associate, Fox Chase Cancer Center, Philadelphia, PA

Jessica Meeker, MPH, (04/01/14-05/30/15), Program Coordinator, Research Translation Core, Penn SRP, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA

Craig Menges, PhD, (08/01/14-03/31/17), Research Assistant Professor, Fox Chase Cancer Center, Philadelphia, PA

Sanjay K. Mohanty, PhD (08/01/15-09/30/16), Assistant Professor in Environmental Engineering, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of California, Los Angeles, CA

Carlos Ortiz, PhD, (09/02/16-05/31/17), Consultant w/Delloitte USA

Ashkan Salamatipour, BS, (07/15/15-05/19/17), Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine at Midwestern University

Kenji Saito, MD, JD, (05/01/15-03/31/16), Medical Director of Occupational Health and Wellness at The Aroostook Medical Center, Presque Isle, ME

Greg Vanichkachorn, MD, (05/01/15-03/31/16), Corporate Health Director, Kalispell Regional Healthcare,  Kalispell, MT 

Anastasia Velalopoulou, PhD, (03/01/15–11/30/16), Postdoctoral Fellow, Georgia Institute of Technology

Lei Wu, PhD, Assistant Professor in Environmental Engineering, Department of Civil Engineering, Ohio University — Athens Campus, Athens, OH

Rengyi (Emily) Xu, PhD, (09/01/14-06/23/17), Senior Statistician, Takeda, Cambridge, MA


For More Information

Christine R. Shwed
Department of Systems Pharmacology & Therapeutics
Penn SRP Center and Training Program
Center for Cancer Pharmacology
853 Biomedical Research Building (BRB II/III)
421 Curie Boulevard
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6160