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The Health Effects Institute

Ongoing Research

The HEI research program has addressed many important questions about the health effects of a variety of pollutants over the past two decades. These include carbon monoxide, ozone, particulate matter, and nitrogen oxides, which are regulated in the US by the National Ambient Air Quality Standards. In addition, many air toxics and fuel additives have been studied, including methanol, diesel exhaust and associated compounds, benzene, 1,3-butadiene, aldehydes, and oxygenates added to gasoline. HEI’s current areas of interest are described in the HEI Strategic Plan for the Health Effects of Air Pollution 2015-2020 . This plan emphasizes the "air pollution mixture" with a focus on exposure, epidemiology and toxicology research; evaluating actions to improve air quality (accountability); and emerging technologies and fuels. The choices of which scientific questions to investigate have been made after considering regulatory needs and uncertainties about health effects, and after consultation with sponsors and the scientific community.

HEI has funded theoretical, in vitro, animal, controlled human exposure, and epidemiologic studies. Because HEI’s ultimate goal is to provide data that can be used in regulatory decisions or to provide better information for risk assessment, human studies and studies to improve extrapolation from animals to humans are an important part of HEI’s program. Sometimes the connection between HEI studies and these decisions is direct, but at other times new methods must be developed or biological mechanisms must be understood before studies of human health effects can be launched. Thus, HEI’s research program is comprised of a variety of studies, which in either the near or long term are important for obtaining better information on the human risks of exposure to air pollutants.

Ongoing Studies
Studies are listed by category, and include the primary investigator, the investigator's affiliation, and the working title of the study. Those studies that have been completed and are currently in the review stage are marked with an asterisk (*). Those studies in press are marked with a dagger (†).

Accountability / Health Outcomes  
Particulate Matter and Air Pollution Mixtures:  
   Exposure Assessment  
   Mechanisms of Health Effects

ACCOUNTABILITY / HEALTH OUTCOMES (* = in review, = in press)
Click here to read more about HEI's Accountability or Health Outcomes research program.

Frank Gilliland, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA
    The effects of policy-driven air quality improvements on children’s respiratory health

Ying-Ying Meng, University of California, Los Angeles, CA
    Improvements in air quality and health outcomes among California Medicaid enrollees due to
    goods movement actions ― Phase 2

Armistead Russell, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA
    Impact of emissions changes on air quality and acute health effects in the Southeast, 1993-2012

OZONE (* = in review, = in press)

Allison Fryer, Oregon Health and Science University, Portland, OR
    Air pollution and systemic inflammation of autonomic nerves

Multicenter Ozone Study in Elderly Subjects (MOSES):

    John Balmes, University of California-San Francisco, San Francisco, CA

    Philip Bromberg, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC

    Mark Frampton, University of Rochester, Rochester, NY

    Paul Stark, New England Research Institute, Watertown, MA


Epidemiology                                                                                                              Back to top  

NEW Michael Brauer, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada
    Identifying the shape of the association between long-term exposure to low levels of ambient air
    pollution and the risk of mortality: An extension of the Canadian Census Health and Environment
    Cohort using innovative data linkage and exposure methodology

NEW Bert Brunekreef, Utrecht University, Utrecht, the Netherlands
    Mortality and morbidity effects of long-term exposure to low-level PM2.5, Black Carbon, NO2 and
    O3: An analysis of European cohorts

*Jiu-Chiuan Chen, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA
    Particulate air pollutants, risk of cognitive disorders, and neuropathology in the elderly

    Walter A. Rosenblith New Investigator Award 2007

NEW Francesca Dominici, Harvard University, Boston, MA
    Assessing adverse health effects of long-term exposure to low levels of ambient pollution

Zhengmin Qian,Saint Louis University, St. Louis, MO
   Air pollution and adverse pregnancy outcomes in Wuhan, China

Exposure Assessment                                                                                                Back to top  

Benjamin Barratt, King's College London, London, United Kingdom
   The Hong Kong D3D study: A dynamic three-dimensional exposure model for Hong Kong

Stuart Batterman, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI
   Enhancing models and measurements of traffic-related air pollutants for health studies
   using Bayesian melding

Juana Maria Delgado-Saborit, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, UK
   Use of real-time sensors to assess misclassification and to identify main sources
   contributing to peak and chronic exposures
Walter A. Rosenblith New Investigator Award 2011

Christopher Frey, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC
   Characterizing the determinants of vehicle traffic emissions exposure: Measurement and
   modeling of land-use, traffic, transformation and transport

Petros Koutrakis, Harvard University, Boston, MA
   Chemical and physical characterization of non-tailpipe and tailpipe emissions at 100 locations
   near major roads in the Greater Boston area

Jeremy Sarnat, Emory University, Atlanta, GA
   Developing multipollutant exposure indicators of traffic pollution: The Dorm room Inhalation to
   Vehicle Emissions (DRIVE) study

Edmund Seto, University of Washington, Seattle, WA
   Evaluation of alternative sensor-based exposure assessment methods

Xiaoliang Wang, Desert Research Institute, Reno, NV
   Real-world vehicle emissions characterization for the Shing Mun Tunnel in Hong Kong and
   Ft. McHenry Tunnel in the U.S.

Mechanisms of Health Effects                                                                                 Back to top 

Lydia Contreras, Texas University, Austin, TX
    Understanding the impact of air quality on the changing chemistry of Regulatory Nucleic Acids
Walter A. Rosenblith New Investigator Award 2014

NEW Kymberly Gowdy, East Carolina University, Greenville, NC
    Scavenger receptor BI regulates oxidized lipid driven pulmonary and vascular inflammation
    after ozone exposure
Walter A. Rosenblith New Investigator Award 2015

William Kraus, Duke University, Durham, NC
    Air quality by genomics interactions in a cardiovascular disease cohort

Nga Lee (Sally) Ng, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA
    Composition and oxidative properties of particulate matter mixtures: Effects of particle
    phase state, acidity, and transition metals
Walter A. Rosenblith New Investigator Award 2013

Jason Surratt, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC
    Understanding the health effects of isoprene-derived particulate matter enhanced by
    anthropogenic pollutants
Walter A. Rosenblith New Investigator Award 2012

Back to top 

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Last updated July 28, 2016