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Partnering With Doe to Apply Advanced Biological, Environmental, and Computational Science to Environmental Issues

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Abstract:On February 18, 2004, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Energy signed a Memorandum of Understanding to expand the research collaboration of both agencies to advance biological, environmental, and computational sciences for protecting human health and the environment and fostering a secure, reliable, and economically sustainable energy system. This poster will describe three areas of collaboration: gene sequencing, high performance computing, and decision tools for sustainability.

Using approaches derived from modern computational methods, medicinal chemistry, molecular biology and systems biology, computational biology allows us to address the questions of "when and how" to test specific chemicals for hazards and for improving quantitative risk assessments of chemicals and microbial human pathogens. Gene sequencing holds the potential to reveal molecular pieces of the toxicity pathway, which is critical to answering these questions. This is particularly important for sub-mammalian species, for which such information lags considerably behind mammals. The collaboration between EPA and DOE will produce DNA sequence data on organisms of special importance to EPA's effort to apply molecular data to the prediction of toxicity, characterization of exposure, and ultimately integration in ecological risk assessments.

The forward-looking relationship between EPA and DOE is also characterized by high performance computing, a key area of collaboration that will take computational sciences and decision-making tools to a new level of sophistication and utility. High performance computing allows optimization (better, faster, cheaper runs) of environmental models like EPA's Community Multi-Scale Air Quality (CMAQ) model, enhances data storage and transfer of large data sets, and reduces data duplication. Optimization is targeted to systems used by state and regional agencies that must meet upcoming deadlines on air quality implementation plans in the 2007-2008 timeframe. As EPA and DOE's scientists explore new research areas, networking enhancements will enable more thorough and rapid analysis of complex models and large datasets.

DOE and EPA's collaborative efforts in the area of sustainability will focus on a variety of research tools and modeling activities that contribute to informed decisions and policies in environmental protection, development of new environment and energy technology, sustainable energy use, ecological monitoring, analysis of material flows, and environmental and facilities clean-up. Collaboration led to the development of the Regional Vulnerability Assessment (ReVA) Environmental Decision Toolkit (EDT) - a basic integration and visualization toolkit used by EPA and partners in state and local government to address a suite of assessment questions crucial to reducing ecological risk. Future activities will focus on development and implementation of sensing, data collection, and information synthesis for measuring and tracking the state of the environment, and on the development of data, tools, and analyses relating to how decisions we make today will effect environmental conditions in the future.

Although this work was reviewed by EPA and approved for publication, it may not necessarily reflect official Agency policy.
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Citation:Garcia, V. C., G. P. Toth, K. L. Schere, and E. R. Smith. Partnering With Doe to Apply Advanced Biological, Environmental, and Computational Science to Environmental Issues. Presented at EPA Science Forum 2004, Washington, DC, June 1-3, 2004.
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Contact: Mary P. O'Bryant - (919)-541-4871 or obriant.mary@epa.gov
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Division: Office of the Director
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Branch: Immediate Office
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Product Type: Abstrct/Oral
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Presented: 06/01/2004
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