University of Cambridge > Talks.cam > Centre for Atmospheric Science seminars, Chemistry Dept. > Understanding The Adverse Health Effects of Air Pollution One Particle at a Time

Understanding The Adverse Health Effects of Air Pollution One Particle at a Time

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Elevated levels of suspended particles in the troposphere, termed particulate matter, elicit a myriad of adverse health effects in humans, ranging from shortness of breath and wheezing to myocardial infarction and death. It is currently believed that the adverse health effects associated with particulate matter are mediated by the inflammatory response initiated by the lung following particulate matter inhalation. What remains an area of much interest is elucidating the specific properties of particulate matter, physical or chemical, that cause the upregulation of proinflammatory mediators. The basic premise of this work is to identify the specific chemical components of particulate matter responsible for its adverse health effects. To address this issue, instrumentation and methodology were developed to design, create, levitate particles of both known chemical composition and size, alter their composition through heterogeneous or multiphase reactions, followed by their deposition onto lung cells, in vitro. The downstream biological response of dosed cells is then measured using a series of standardized assays. The development and application of this technology will be discussed.

This talk is part of the Centre for Atmospheric Science seminars, Chemistry Dept. series.

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