Texas A&M Graduate Student Earns NIEHS Superfund Externship Award

Krisa Camargo, a graduate research assistant in the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences’ (CVM) Veterinary Integrative Biosciences department and a pre-doctoral trainee with the Texas A&M University Superfund Research Center, has been recognized with a 2018 KC Donnelly Externship Award.

Krisa CamargoGranted by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences’ Superfund Research Program (SRP), the KC Donnelly Externship Award is a supplemental award that provides current SRP-funded graduate students and postdoctoral researchers with translational/transdisciplinary opportunities and experiences within other SRP-funded centers, government laboratories, or other agencies

With her award, Camargo—under the mentorship of Texas A&M professors Anthony Knap, José Sericano, Yina Liu, Thomas McDonald, and Weihsueh Chiu—will travel to Gloucester Point, Virginia, to work with Michael Unger at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science.

Her research focuses on characterizing and modeling how people are exposed to legacy contaminants within the Galveston Bay and Houston Ship Channel region of Houston, particularly in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey.

In Virginia, Camargo will expand upon her work to develop a low-cost screening approach for polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons that will help prioritize sediment samples that should be analyzed for toxicity.

“This experience will allow me to strengthen my skillset and broaden the tools available for our SRP Center’s work,” Camargo said. “I hope to use this transdisciplinary and translational project to create a screening method that could be used for rapid needs assessments during public health emergencies and to inform emergency responders in the aftermath of disasters like Hurricane Harvey.”

Camargo is one of eight students from across the country recognized with a 2018 externship award. Recipients receive financial support for up to three months for supplies, travel, and housing costs for the duration of the externship (as much as$10,000 in direct costs), as well as travel funds to attend the SRP Annual Meeting, where each recipient is invited to present their research.

The KC Donnelly Externship was named in honor of Dr. KC Donnelly, department head of environmental and occupational health at Texas A&M University, who passed away on July 1, 2009.

In addition to his research studying environmental exposure and genotoxicity of complex chemical mixtures, Donnelly was a dedicated mentor to his students and post-doctoral researchers, instilling in them the importance of applying their knowledge and findings to communities exposed to environmental contaminants.

To be eligible for the KC Donnelly Externship Award, applicants must be a graduate student (master’s or doctoral) or a postdoctoral researcher and conducting research/activities in any SRP R01 grant or project/core within an SRP Center.


For more information about the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, please visit our website at vetmed.tamu.edu or join us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

Contact Information: Megan Palsa, Executive Director of Communications, Media & Public Relations, Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Science; mpalsa@cvm.tamu.edu; 979-862-4216; 979-421-3121 (cell)

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