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Synergistic Effects of Particulate Matter and Substrate Stiffness on Epithelial-to-Mesenchymal Transition

This report is a study focused on lung tissue repair processes after inflammation and injury resulting from exposure to particulate matter (PM) from combustion sources. Dr. Thomas H. Barker of Georgia Institute of Technology, a recipient of HEI's Walter A. Rosenblith New Investigator Award, and his colleagues tested the hypotheses that alveolar epithelial cells grown on substrates of increasing stiffness would transition to mesenchymal cells — an early step along the pathway to fibrosis — and that the addition of fine PM would enhance these effects.