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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 2010-2015 . 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:
Diesel Exhaust    Epidemiology
Ozone and Particulate Matter    Exposure Assessment
Statistical Methods    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 I: Assessing air quality changes

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

Corwin Zigler and Francesca Dominici, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA
    Causal inference methods for estimating long term health effects of air quality regulations

DIESEL EXHAUST (* = in review, = in press)                                                           Back to top  

Advanced Collaborative Emissions Study (ACES):

   Jake McDonald (Joe Mauderly), Lovelace Respiratory Research Institute, Albuquerque, NM
    Development of a diesel exhaust exposure facility and conduct of a chronic inhalation
        bioassay in rats and a 90-day study in mice

    Jeffrey Bemis, Litron Laboratories, Rochester, NY
Genotoxicity of inhaled diesel exhaust: examination of rodent blood for micronucleus

    Daniel Conklin, University of Louisville, Louisville, KY
        Effects of diesel emissions on vascular inflammation and thrombosis

    Lance Hallberg, University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, TX
        Assessment of the genotoxicity of diesel exhaust from improved diesel engines

[Note that the first results from these studies have been published as HEI Research Report 166]

OZONE AND PARTICULATE MATTER (* = in review, = in press)

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

*Fern Tablin, University of California-Davis, Davis, CA
    Immune effects of episodic ozone and PM exposure during postnatal development

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

    Ann Stoddard, New England Research Institute, Watertown, MA


Epidemiology                                                                                                              Back to top  

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

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

*Jun Wu, University of California, Irvine, CA
Adverse reproductive health outcomes and exposures to gaseous and particulate matter
    air pollution in pregnant women

    Walter A. Rosenblith New Investigator Award 2010

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

NEW 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

*Patrick Ryan, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati, OH
   Analysis of personal and home characteristics associated with the elemental
   composition of PM2.5 in indoor, outdoor, and personal air in the RIOPA study

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

NEW 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 

NEW 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

Richard Peltier, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA
   Development of a new method for measurements of reactive oxygen species associated with
   PM2.5 exposure
Walter A. Rosenblith New Investigator Award 2011

David Rich, University of Rochester, Rochester, NY and
Annette Peters, Helmholtz Center Munich, Germany
    Ambient and controlled particle exposures as triggers for acute ECG changes and the role
    of antioxidant status

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

STATISTICAL METHODS (* = in review, = in press)                                          Back to top 

Brent Coull, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA
    Statistical learning methods for the effects of multiple air pollution constituents

John Molitor, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR
   Modeling of multi-pollutant profiles with applications to RIOPA study data and to
   indicators of adverse birth outcomes using data from the UCLA Environment and
   Pregnancy Outcomes Study (EPOS)

Eun Sug Park, Texas A& M University, College Station, TX
    Development of enhanced statistical methods for assessing health effects associated
    with an unknown number of major sources of multiple air pollutants

Back to top 

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Last updated February 3, 2015