Superfund Monthly Seminar Series

December 10, 2014 - 12:00pm to 1:00pm

Speakers: Drs. Keith Pezzoli, Ilya Zaslavsky, and Wael Al-Delaimy

Presenting the research under the Support Cores:
Research Translation Core and Community Engagement Core

Seminar Title: "Land Use and Public Health: An integrated approach to Superfund toxicants in urban agriculture, stormwater, and dust”

January 2, 2015 | Meeting Summary By: Mei-Fei Yueh, Ph.D.

Web content: Michelle Feiock, Program Manager and Bethany Behnke, Assistant

Meeting Summary

     The Monthly Program Meeting in December was presented by Core Leader Dr. Keith Pezzoli and Core Co-leaders Drs. Wael Al-Delaimy and Ilya Zaslavsky (Community Engagement Core & Research Translation Core).

    Dr. Keith started his presentation by stating the importance of merging city planning and ecosystem management along with taking scientific approaches to improve lives in disadvantaged communities. In the current project, a 20,000 sq. ft Brownfield Site that covers the neighborhoods of southeast San Diego including City Heights, Golden Hill, and Mid-City Eastern, which is called Ocean View Growing Grounds (OVGG), was chosen as a platform to which the strategy of “urban agriculture” has been applied to improve local, sustainable food systems. The objective is to use urban agriculture on the Brownfield Site to protect the environment and to provide fresh food to lower income families.

UCSD SRC Speaker Dr. Pezzoli

Dr. Pezzolli presenting his progress on transforming the Brownfield Site


     Through community-university partnerships with the assistance of the Global Action Research Center, Urban Studies and Planning Program, local residents, and a private landowner, they together are transforming the Brownfield Site into a community garden and a regional asset in the form of an environmental learning center.

     The dynamics of coupled natural and human systems in the Brownfield Project is also extended by bringing science into productive use to monitor ecosystem function, addressing the concern whether the plants grown on the Brownfield Site are safe for human consumption.  By collecting plant tissue samples from the OVGG food forest, they found that arsenic and lead levels are above the EPA standards, implying further clean-up (e.g., though phytoremediation) of heavy metal contamination may be essential.

     Following Dr. Pezzoli’s talk, the presentation from the Community Engagement Core & Research Translation Core was continued by the co-leader Dr. Wael Al-Delaimy. His project has been focusing on addressing the impact of environmental health hazards on human health. They found a target community in Los Laureles Canyon, Tijuana, Mexico, where the community has the characteristics of rapid population growth and poor infrastructure along with numerous illegal open dump sites.

     They first conducted a survey to compare self-reported illness symptoms in residents among different neighborhoods within this community. The survey revealed that the most common symptoms of ill health included extreme fatigue, skin irritations, stomach discomforts, eye irritations, and difficulty concentrating. When the soil samples were analyzed in this region, the levels of bisphenol A and triclosan were higher than that in other regions. Since these chemicals may have the ability to bind to the soil, and residents in the unpaved neighborhood are having significantly higher rates of ill health, Dr. Al-Delaimy’s team hypothesized that dust can be a toxicant carrier and contributes to health issues.

   They then surveyed residents and collected dust using a dust collector filter that is attached to a cordless vacuum. They analyzed the collected indoor dust emphasizing the detection of endocrine disrupting chemicals, including phthalates, bisphenol A, triclosan, and heavy metals. All these environmental contaminants - phthalates, bisphenol A, triclosan, arsenic and cadmium – were detected in all dust samples; however, concentrations of phthalates, bisphenol A and triclosan were lower in household dust of this region than those in other studies. The validation of the methodology used in this study may need to be carried out further.  

    Dr. Ilya Zaslavsky then briefly introduced the GIS-decision support tool that possesses analytical and mapping capability to embed urban agriculture in the context of greening infrastructure and stormwater management.


The UCSD Superfund Research Center holds a monthly Seminar Series in which participating laboratories, including Principal Investigators, postdoctoral trainees, and students report on their research plans and progress. The scientific presentations are followed by free discussions. These seminars play an essential role in disseminating data between the laboratories, as well as providing an opportunity for all members of the program to interact on a regular basis.

The seminars are mandatory for supported students of our Training Core and postdoctoral fellows that are supported by the research projects. All the Principal Investigators of our Center are encouraged to attend and there is always at least one representative from each Project and Core. Many collaborative activities, especially those between biomedical and non-biomedical projects, have resulted from these meetings.

Upcoming Events

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Past Events

December 16, 2020 - 12:00pm to 1:00pm

Dr. Julian Schroeder - Project 6

November 18, 2020 - 12:00pm to 1:00pm

Dr. Geoffrey Chang - Project 5

October 21, 2020 - 12:00pm to 1:00pm

Dr. Keith Pezzoli - RTC/CEC

June 17, 2020 - 12:00pm to 1:00pm

Drs. Pamela Mellon & Mohit Jain
Genetics and Metabolomics Core

May 20, 2020 - 12:00pm to 1:00pm

Dr. David A. Brenner - Project 4

April 15, 2020 - 12:00pm to 1:00pm

Dr. Ronald M. Evans/Dr. Tae Gyu Oh

March 18, 2020 - 12:00pm to 1:00pm

Dr. Jack Gilbert - Invited Speaker
“The Microbiome: Linking Soil and Human Health”

February 19, 2020 - 12:00pm to 1:00pm

Drs. Elvira Mennillo & Jacopo Baglieri
Training Core Talks

January 15, 2020 - 12:00pm to 1:00pm

Dr. Michael Karin - Project 1
“NRF2 : much more than a stress response factor”

December 11, 2019 - 12:00pm to 1:00pm

Project 6 - Schroeder



UCSD Superfund Research Center
University of California, San Diego
Pharmacology Department
9500 Gilman Drive, Mail Code 0722
La Jolla, CA 92093-0722