Over 30 PROTECT researchers and trainees attended the 36th Annual Superfund Research Program Meeting from December 4th-6th, 2023. The meeting was held in Albuquerque, New Mexico and hosted by the University of New Mexico METALS SRP program team.

Every year, investigators, staff, and students from the 24 NIEHS-funded P42 centers convene for the three-day meeting. The event gives researchers the opportunity to present on their past year of work and learn about the accomplishments of other centers. Researchers also have the chance to network and discuss potential collaborations and data sharing opportunities.

Throughout the meeting, multiple PROTECT trainees and staff presented posters. The presenters, who represented every PROTECT project and the Community Engagement Core (CEC), were Ellie Holmes (Project 2), Haley Jenkins (Project 1), Héctor Torres Zayas (CEC), Jong-Gook Kim (Project 4), Karla Rivera-Rodríguez (Project 3), Ram Siwakoti (Project 1), Savanna Sturla (Project 1), Seonyoung (Shannon) Park (Project 1), Stephanie Sarrouf (Project 4), and Zulmarie Diaz Reguero (CEC).

Zulmarie Diaz Reguero and Ishwara Ayala Ortiz

PROTECT researchers also participated in several of the meeting’s oral presentation sessions. On the second day of the meeting, CEC postdoc and recent KC Donnelly recipient Nobel Hernández-Otero presented during the Reporting Back of Data session. His presentation focused on how report back can be used to address some of the challenges communities are still facing regarding the COVID-19 pandemic. Later that day, CEC and RECOVER researcher Chrystal Galán Rivera took part in the Community Partnership and Team Science session where she talked about how PROTECT uses community and participant relationships to promote environmental health awareness. On the final day of the meeting, Project 1 trainee Shannon Park participated in the Prenatal Exposures session. During her presentation, Shannon shared her work looking at how gestational exposure to phthalates and mixtures impacts biomarkers.

Nobel Hernández-Otero

Chrystal Galán Rivera

Shannon Park

Researchers in Albuquerque together

In addition to discussing work from the last year, PROTECT researchers used the meeting to see and reconnect with colleagues. Given PROTECT’s multi-institution and multidisciplinary nature, researchers take the opportunity to talk in person when given the chance. PROTECT Director Akram Alshawabkeh held a group dinner for everyone from PROTECT at the meeting on the first day of the event. RETCC Director Kelsey Pieper later organized a breakfast with the trainees that provided time for students from different projects and cores to meet and learn more about each other.

Thank you to all who attended this year’s meeting, and to UNM for hosting!