Professor of Toxicology and Director of the University of Washington’s Superfund Research Program
Tell Me More: In the lab, we examine the effects of environmental pollutants on aquatic animals. Specifically, we identify species that are at risk to pollutants and study why some are more at risk than others. I also teach classes in molecular and biochemical toxicology.
The Superfund program is a large-scale NIH program that is only awarded to a select group of universities. The money from this grant supports about 40 people at UW. We develop new technologies and new approaches to understanding human and ecologic risks to superfund chemical sites. Ours is the only program that funds high level research that connects human and ecological health risks to Superfund chemicals.
Looking Ahead: When I was a student, the funding paradigm started to shift towards professors bringing in more grant money. Today we’re leveraging money from all of our combined grants to do the best science, keep people employed, do community engagement and outreach to people affected by the contaminants we study. If federal funding gets hit any harder, the house of cards could fall. Research institutions create jobs. We need funding approaches that make sure we can keep the doors open.
When I was 13 I developed a prosthetic to help me play the guitar. It was even patented. Over the years I’ve played in several bands and loved it. My mom said it was my idea and I should use it to do some good in the future. So I would like to make some improvements on it and help disabled vets get into music.
Why I March for Science: I don’t think of myself as a protector of the environment. Science is a labor of love. I was raised by blue-collar immigrants. I do this because it gives me the ability to be curious and to always explore. I’m a kid with a microscope. Further, I get to educate younger students, mentor graduate students and support not only health and the environment but people through their jobs.