Program Fact Sheet

Training the next generation of scientists, from all backgrounds

Most funding goes to support graduate students and post-doctoral scholars conducting research with UC faculty.  We train future leaders including individuals from diverse backgrounds.

Combining health and engineering for multidisciplinary work

The Superfund program is unique among all federal research because it focuses on solutions by connecting the best engineering researchers and the best environmental health researchers to work in a truly multidisciplinary environment.

Bringing the best people and tools

We apply new technologies to better understand how the environment contributes to disease and to create prevention and remediation strategies to protect public health and the environment.  We draw on the expertise at UC and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in engineering, chemistry, toxicology, epidemiology, and public health.

Examples of our impacts
  • New methods using steam vastly decrease cost of cleanup of contamination;
  • New understanding of benzene effects lead to new standards reducing benzene in gasoline;
  • New findings about early life exposure lead to increased attention to arsenic exposure;
  • Faster, cheaper, better methods can reduce cost to detect contaminants in water in the field;
  • Better ways to test for effects of solvents such as TCE using yeast speed results;
  • New methods allow use of naturally occurring bacteria to reduce toxicity of contaminants.
Our Researchers
  • We currently support the work of over 70 professors, researchers, postdoctoral scholars, and students.
  • Tuition assistance and training to over 150 graduate students.
  • We have emphasized fellowships for underrepresented minorities.
  • Alumni have gone on to positions at major universities and cutting edge tech firms.
Hear from our Faculty, Students, and Post-Docs at YouTube

An Overview – Science for a Safer World: Superfund Research at Berkeley

Program Director, Professor Martyn T. Smith

EnviroHealth Berkeley

  • Understanding how Environmental Toxicants Alter DNA – Project 2 Graduate Trainee, Vanessa de la Rosa
  • Using Yeast to Understand the Toxicity of Environmental Contaminants – Former Project 2 Trainee, Dr. Brandon Gaytan
  • Benzene Exposure and Google Maps – Former Core D Postdoctoral Trainee, Dr. Reuben Thomas
  • Plasmonic Mercury Sensing with Gold Nanoparticles – Former Project 5 Graduate Trainee, Dr. Jay James
  • Superfund Contaminants: The Next Generation – Project 6 Co-Leader, Professor David Sedlak
  • Activated Persulfate for Remediation of Groundwater Contaminants – Project 6 Graduate Trainee, Thomas Bruton

Science for a Safer World: Superfund Research at UC Berkeley

  • Finding the causes of leukemia – Program Director, Professor Martyn T. Smith
  • Early exposure to arsenic has extraordinary impacts on young adults – Project 3 Co-Leader Professor Allan H. Smith
  • Functional toxicogenomics: from yeast to people – Co-Leader Project 2 and Core C, Professor Chris Vulpe
  • Using iron minerals to treat groundwater to reduce toxicity – Former Project 6 Graduate Trainee, Anh Le-Tuan Pham
  • Reducing toxicity of underground contaminants using oxidation – Former Project 6 Postdoctoral Trainee, Haizhou Liu
  • A systems approach to bioremediation (reducing toxicity of contaminants using naturally occurring microbes) – Project 4 Leader, Professor Lisa Alvarez-Cohen




NIEHS Superfund Research Program: