PhD student, Rebecca Dickman (Aga Research Group), is one of the winners of the prestigious NIH K.C. Donnelly Award and has been featured in two articles:
The Superfund Research Program (SRP) has established an honorary award in memory of K.C. Donnelly, Ph.D., a longtime SRP grantee who worked tirelessly to improve our understanding of environmental exposure and genotoxicity of complex chemical mixtures. The KC Donnelly externship allows graduate researchers who are participating in SPR NIH research the opportunity to design a collaboration with an outside agency in order to further advance research efforts. Through this award, Rebecca Dickman will continue her research on the detection and quantification of Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) (a.k.a. Forever Chemicals) in the environment, with collaborators Dr. Jon Sobus and Dr. James McCord at the US EPA's Office of Research and Development. Due to the vast nature of the chemical class as well as the lack of reference materials, accurate identification and quantification of PFAS is a major challenge within this field of study. Computational modeling has been applied to estimate PFAS concentrations based on instrument signals, but the complexity of environmental sample matrices can cause variability in these instrument signals, leading to further challenges with quantitation. With this, the computational models developed by collaborators at the EPA will be adapted in order to account for impacts of the environmental matrix on instrument signals. At the end of the fellowship, Rebecca will have the opportunity to present her research to experts in the field at the NIH superfund workshop, will have gained proficiency in R-Studio, as well as experience with statistical modeling.