Dr. Rebecca Fry, associate professor of environmental sciences and engineering at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Gillings School of Global Public Health, has been named director of the UNC Superfund Research Program.
The program, based in the Gillings School and supported by a $14 million grant from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), brings together a diverse group of scientists, engineers, science communicators and trainees to study human health and environmental risks associated with exposure to toxic chemicals found at hazardous waste sites.
“Superfund” refers to a funding mechanism that was included in the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA) to support cleanup at the nation’s most contaminated sites. There are 39 such sites in North Carolina.
The UNC SRP is part of a national network of programs supported by NIEHS to identify solutions to the complex health and environmental issues associated with Superfund and other waste sites.
“In North Carolina and nationally, we are faced with serious environmental issues that need to be tackled with diverse interdisciplinary teams,” Dr. Fry said. “I am excited to lead our group, with a mission to employ advanced risk analysis to protect populations at risk from these environmental harms.”
Dr. Fry, a biomedical researcher, joined the Gillings School faculty in 2008. She is recognized internationally for her research in systems toxicology and environmental epigenetics that focuses on elucidating the molecular mechanisms underlying environmentally-induced disease. She has extensive experience overseeing complex research programs and previously served as deputy director for the UNC Superfund Research Program.