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New HEI report examines pollutant effects on lung cells

July 2020

HEI has published Research Report 201, Understanding the Functional Impact of VOC–Ozone Mixtures on the Chemistry of RNA in Epithelial Lung Cells, led by Dr. Lydia Contreras at the University of Texas, Austin.

Dr. Contreras and colleagues evaluated how exposure of lung cells to volatile organic compounds plus ozone affects oxidation of ribonucleic acid, a key component of cells. The study aimed to improve understanding of the biological mechanisms by which air pollutants can cause effects in human health, thereby expanding our knowledge of potential causal links between exposure and health.

Dr. Contreras was funded under HEI’s Walter A. Rosenblith New Investigator Award program, initiated in 1999 in honor of HEI’s first Research Committee chair. The Rosenblith program aims to bring new, creative investigators into active research on the health effects of air pollution. It provides three years of funding for a small project relevant to HEI’s research interests to new investigators with outstanding promise at the assistant professor or equivalent level. With this award program HEI has supported the growth and development of 27 new investigators to date and has been pleased to see a number of our past recipients go on to play leading roles in environmental health research.