Core D: Training Core
Trainees are critical to achieving the goals of the Berkeley Superfund Research Center and they are the future leaders in the environmental health and engineering sciences. Therefore, the overall objective of the Training Core (Core D) is to provide all trainees with trans-disciplinary mentorship, education, and training in environmental health, environmental toxicology and environmental engineering in order to ensure their success and growth. Through interaction with all other cores and research projects, Core D will facilitate the exchange of scientific knowledge, offer skills training, provide avenues for bidirectional community interactions, and connect trainees with opportunities locally in the San Francisco Bay Area scientific community and regionally through partner West Coast SRP training cores. The Core will emphasize highly integrated, interdisciplinary research and translation approaches with the goals of reducing the impact of toxic chemicals found at Superfund sites, improving the environment, and ultimately protecting human health. Specifically, Core D will provide a practical translational incubator for trainees from both biomedical and engineering backgrounds to interact, merge scientific specialties or knowledge, exchange innovative ideas and ultimately generate integrative research projects with improved translation potential (Aim 1). In collaboration with the Data Science and Laboratory Core (Core E), Core D will develop specific hands-on training in practical data analysis and cutting-edge biomedical and omic technologies to enable all trainees to expand their research skills and capabilities (Aim 2). In conjunction with the Community Engagement Core (Core B), Core D will engage all trainees in bidirectional community interaction, in order to connect them with local communities and real world issues (Aim 3). Lastly, Core D will connect with other West Coast Training Cores at SRP partner universities to allow our trainees to develop leadership skills, share existing projects, exchange ideas, and network with other mentors and mentees across a wide range of disciplines (Aim 4). Through Specific Aims 1-4 and in conjunction with all other cores and projects, Core D will engage all trainees in a comprehensive, rigorous and cohesive program that will promote interdisciplinary research activities and professional development inside and outside of the Berkeley SRP Center, provide training on best practices in the Responsible Conduct of Research, and foster an inclusive and discrimination-free environment for diverse trainees from various cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds. We are pleased to report progress in our goals for recruitment and retention of minorities and diversity. During the prior funding period, 55% of our 54 trainees identified as ethnic minorities and 19% as underrepresented minorities, most of them doctoral students and postdoctoral fellows. We project 43 trainee candidates in our renewal cycle, including 5 postdocs, 23 graduate students (majority pre-doctoral) and 15 undergraduates. The ultimate goal of Core D is to empower our trainees to become the next generation of 21st Century multidisciplinary professionals and leaders in environmental health and engineering sciences.
Luoping Zhang, Ph.D.
Adjunct Professor, Environmental Health Sciences, School of Public Health