Research Translation Core (RTC)

"Extending the Reach of Exposure Science and Technology that Improves the Dection and Remediation of Hazardous Substances"

Core Narative

UC San Diego’s SRC is focusing on toxicant-associated steatohepatitis (TASH), a serious form of Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD). TASH and liver cirrhosis are on the rise in both children and adults; especially among Hispanic and Native Americans. Thus we expect that the science and technology emanating from our SRC will be relevant and useful to the U.S. EPA, ATSDR, state and local agencies, including health care providers.

Summary of Core

The UC San Diego Superfund Research Center (SRC) will investigate relationships linking obesity, nutrition, genetics, epigenetics and environmental toxicant exposure in the etiology and progression of liver disease, especially a non-alcoholic toxicant induced form of fatty liver disease called Toxicant-Associated Steatohepatitis (TASH). This focus is especially significant now given how cases of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and hepatocellular carcinoma are dramatically increasing around the world, including in California and Mexico. Hispanic and Native Americans are especially vulnerable to this disease given their genetic susceptibility compounded by the harsh reality that many Hispanic and Native Americans live in stressed places with high rates of obesity, poverty, poor nutrition, health disparities and exposure to toxicants, all of which constitute cumulative impacts that increase the risk of getting cancer, including TASH. UC San Diego’s SRC is pursuing   an   innovative   approach to understanding fatty liver disease and cancer. The Research Translation Core (RTC) will collaborate with all of the SRC project/core leaders to translate their scientific knowledge, data, models and technological innovations into forms useful for our target audiences—including the EPA, ATSDR, CDC, Nonprofits, Biotech, County health providers, city planning organizations, Tribal Environmental Agencies, the NIEHS and other SRCs. The RTC has access to urban and rural sites in California (San Diego and Imperial Valley), including the Halaco Superfund site, and Mexico (Tijuana) where place-based interventions are underway to reduce cumulative risks and health disparities impacting Hispanic and Native American communities. Our communication strategies, partnerships with government agencies, technology transfer and information dissemination to appropriate audiences will concentrate on toxicant induced liver disease from a perspective of prevention and intervention. We will identify and share new models of exposure (e.g., 3D printed liver tissue), methods of detection and diagnosis (e.g., Synthetically Evolved Receptors and Synthetically Evolved Biosensors), novel plant technologies (enhanced phytostabilization and bioremediation potential of plants and edible food safety) and new online cyberinfrastructure for data integration, visualization and mapping. The RTC will facilitate joint publications among project/core leaders and extend the reach of our science communication through social media, webinars, press releases, symposia, science cafes, geographic information systems and bioinformatics. This multidisciplinary team research will promote knowledge and understanding of how cumulative risks (e.g., obesity, poor nutrition, and exposure to toxicants) impact human health; thereby helping pave the way for better detection and diagnosis, prevention and interventions that can slow the rate of increase in toxicant induced liver disease.


PubMed Central ID: 

Que, X., Hung, M.Y., Yeang, C., Gonen, A., Prohaska, T.A., Sun, X., Diehl, C., Määttä, A., Gaddis, D.E., Bowden, K., Pattison, J., MacDonald, J.G., Ylä-Herttuala, S., Mellon, P.L., Hedrick, C.C., Ley, K., Miller, Y.I., Glass, C.K., Peterson, K.L., Binder, C.J., Tsimikas, S., Witztum, J.L. (2018) Oxidized phospholipids are proinflammatory and proatherogenic in hypercholesterolaemic mice. Nature. 558(7709):301-306. doi: 10.1038/s41586-018-0198-8. Epub 2018 Jun 6.

PubMedID: 29875409

Al-Delaimy, W. K., Larsen, C. W., Pezzoli, K. (2014) Differences in health symptoms among residents living near illegal dump sites in Los Laureles Canyon, Tijuana, Mexico: a cross sectional survey. In.t J. Environ. Res. Public Health. 11(9), 9532-52.

PubMedID: 25226411
PubMed Central ID: 

Pezzoli, K., Tukey, R., Sarabia, H., Zaslavsky, I., Miranda, M. L., Suk, W. A., Lin, A., Ellisman, M. (2007) The NIEHS Environmental Health Sciences Data Resource Portal: placing advanced technologies in service to vulnerable communities. Environ Health Perspect. 115(4), 564-71. doi: 10.1289/ehp.9817

PubMedID: 17450225

Main Contact Information

Core Leaders
  • Dr. Keith Pezzoli
    Director, Urban Studies and Planning
    Director, Center for Sustainability Science, Planning and Design
    Professor, Department of Communication, UCSD
  • Dr. Ilya Zaslavsky
    Director of Spatial Information Systems Laboratory, San Diego Supercomputer Center
Core Assistant
  • Kelsey Lindner
    Community Engagement and Research Translation Specialist, Department of Communication


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