UNC Superfund Research Program


The UNC Superfund Research Program (SRP) aims to better understand the human and environmental health risks associated with exposure to inorganic arsenic, the highest priority contaminant regulated under the Superfund program. To accomplish these aims, we bring together a diverse group of more than 70 biomedical researchers, engineers, chemists, statisticians, environmental scientists, computer modelers, postdoctoral researchers and graduate trainees.

NIEHS_SRP_Log_horz_2CThe Superfund Research Program (SRP) is a network of university grants that are created for researchers, faculty, and students to seek solutions to the complex health and environmental issues associated with the nation’s hazardous waste sites.

The SRP is funded by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), a branch of the National Institutes of Health. The SRP was established in 1987 to support a multidisciplinary approach to research and decision-making at Superfund and other hazardous waste sites. More information about the SRP.


Our overarching mission is to develop new solutions for inorganic arsenic reduction and disease prevention through mechanistic and translational research.

We aim to discover the biological mechanisms and susceptibility factors underlying arsenic-associated diabetes, focusing basic biomedical research on the effects of inorganic arsenic exposure on various components of biological systems, including target microRNAs, transcription factors and the gut microbiome.

UNC SRP researchers are working to develop new methods to predict arsenic contamination in soil, rock and groundwater to inform well drilling practices and new membrane technologies to ultimately reduce arsenic contamination in drinking water.

We will translate research findings for practical use by key stakeholders and engage communities impacted by hazardous contaminants throughout the research process, with a goal of protecting human and environmental health.

Program Organization

Our program is composed of five integrated research projects (three biomedical and two non-biomedical) and five support cores that together conduct research, train new scientists and engineers familiar with interdisciplinary research, and carry our results to a broad and diverse audience of scientists, regulators, decision-makers, and communities.

Research Projects

Project Leaders

Molecular Drivers of Arsenic-Induced Diabetes
Praveen Sethupathy, Mirek Styblo

Arsenic-Obesity-Diabetes Interactions
Fernando Pardo-Manuel de Villena

Gut Microbiome-Arsenic-Diabetes Interactions
Kun Lu

Geochemical Predictors of Arsenic Contamination
Owen Duckworth

Novel Filtration Devices for Arsenic Reduction
Orlando Coronell

Research Cores

Core Leaders

Administrative Core
Director, Rebecca Fry
Deputy Director, Fernando Pardo-Manuel de Villena
Research Translation Coordinator, Sarah Yelton

Community Engagement Core
Kathleen Gray

Data Management and Analysis Core
Stan Ahalt, Fei Zou

Chemistry and Analytical Core
Kun Lu

Research Experience and Training Coordination Core
Ilona Jaspers