UNC Superfund Research Program

A recent paper from Dr. Rebecca Fry's lab was named Article of the Month by The Children’s Environmental Health Network. The study, Maternal Arsenic Exposure, Arsenic Methylation Efficiency, & Birth Outcomes in the Biomarkers of Exposure to Arsenic (BEAR) Pregnancy Cohort in Mexico examined the association of inorganic arsenic exposure during pregnancy and corresponding birth outcomes in a pregnancy cohort in Mexico.
Message from the Director
"We conduct cutting-edge research to advance methods for detecting toxic chemicals in the environment, cleaning up contaminated sites, and minimizing human and environmental risks due to exposure."
Rebecca Fry, PhD

The UNC Superfund Research Program (UNC SRP) seeks to understand the human health and environmental risks associated with exposure to toxic chemicals found at hazardous waste sites. Learn more.

Our research interests include:

  • Improving our ability to evaluate risk from low-dose exposures;
  • Developing biological markers that indicate when a person has been exposed to a chemical;
  • Using a systems biology framework to understand the pathways of environmental disease and how chemicals can cause changes to our DNA;
  • Understanding how individuals differ in their susceptibility and risk, and how our genes play a role in the development of disease
  • Improving methods to measure chronic exposure and bioavailability of toxic chemicals in the environment
  • Evaluating factors that influence toxicity of soil during and after bioremediation

Fry selected as director of UNC Superfund Research Program

Rebecca Fry, PhD, associate professor of environmental sciences and engineering at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Gillings School of Global Public Health, has been named director of the UNC Superfund Research Program.

Fry, a biomedical researcher, is internationally recognized for her research in systems toxicology that focuses on elucidating the molecular mechanisms underlying environmentally-induced disease.

Fry succeeds James Swenberg, DVM, PhD, Kenan Distinguished Professor of environmental sciences and engineering at the Gillings School, who led the Superfund Research Program from 1992 to 2015.

“Dr. Fry is well-positioned to lead the UNC Superfund Research Program, continuing our longstanding emphasis on improving risk assessment and also leading us in new directions”, says Swenberg.


Teachers explore implications of toxic waste for ecosystems and human health

Staff from Lake Crabtree County Park in Wake County and the UNC Superfund Research Program RTC teamed up in August to provide a two day workshop for area teachers called Cleaning Up Our Waters: Implications of Toxic Waste Sites for Ecosystems and Human Health.

The workshop featured an in-depth case study of the Ward Transformer Superfund Site and its impacts on the surrounding community. Teachers learned strategies for introducing students to the causes, consequences and cleanup of toxic waste and Superfund sites, examined how scientists are studying bioavailability of chemical contaminants in our waters to evaluate risk and inform clean-up, and discovered how communities have responded to toxic waste sites in their own backyards.


EPA Epigenetics and Cumulative Risk Assessment Workshop

September 3-4, 2015
Arlington, VA and via webinar

USEPA’s National Center for Environmental Assessment (NCEA) is hosting the workshop to examine the state-of-the-science with respect to the role of the environment in inducing epigenetic changes in the regulation of gene expression.

Dr. Rebecca Fry, UNC SRP director, has been invited to speak on the epigenetic effects in toxicity of arsenic and other metals during a session on the epigenetic changes associated with a variety of environmental stressors.

For more information and to register to attend via webinar visit the EPA website