UCI Public Health Adds Air Pollution Health Effects Laboratory as Key Research Center | UCI News

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Irvine, California, October 19, 2021 – The public health program at the University of California at Irvine added the Air Pollution Health Effects Laboratory as a research center for the study of environmental and occupational exposures in the air. Originally established in 1973 with funding from the California Air Resources Board to understand the effects of air pollution on human health, over the years the lab has expanded its scope to cover a wide range of exposures environmental. Topics of study now include the impact of air chemistry, tobacco and incense products, air contaminants in vehicles and indoors, and the effects of inhaled materials on lung development.

APHEL will continue to be co-directed by professors Michael T. Kleinman, Ph.D.., and Robert F. Phalen, Ph.D.., who both hold professorships in the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health of the UCI Public Health. Kleinman’s research focuses on understanding the role of inhaled contaminants, including cigarette smoke, smoke from forest fires, “vaping” and ambient particles in the development of cardiovascular disease, while Phalen, who has a joint appointment with the UCI School of Medicine, has extensive experience in inhalation exposure. studies, toxicology, lung anatomy and bioterror aerosols.

“We have seen incredible advancements in environmental health science over the past few decades that have led us to this moment,” said Phalen. “And we have long understood the urgent need for more research into anticipated future air pollution. The UCI has 45 years of expertise in exhibition science, which we are excited to expand with the launch of our lab as a designated research center.

Kleinman noted: “APHEL will have three main functions: basic research, applied research and training. And all three require expertise that is increased in all disciplines. We look forward to working with partners across campus to advance the field, respond to environmental threats as they arise, and train the next generation of scientists. “

For the past 48 years, APHEL has operated under the aegis of the Center for Occupational and Environmental Health, which is now also part of the public health program. As a new research center, APHEL will continue its long history of synergistic collaborations with COEH faculty, but with a focus on serving as a central campus facility for inhalation studies. . The recent recruitment of COEH faculty member Andrea de Vizcaya Ruiz, Ph.D. of the Center for Research and Advanced Studies at the National Polytechnic Institute of Mexico, highlights the future growth of APHEL. by Vizcaya Ruiz has an established research program on the toxicity of inhaled artificial nanoparticles, a new area of ​​study for APHEL.

APHEL will advance UCI Public Health’s mission to promote evidence-based science and health equity by leading key environmental justice interventions. A driving force behind the centre’s work is the understanding that marginalized communities – especially communities of color – are subject to disproportionately higher levels of air pollution and are therefore more at risk of poor health outcomes. The data generated by the center will have a major effect on populations living near sources of pollution by helping to convince lawmakers that environmental justice is an urgent public health issue that must be addressed.

“The creation of the center represents a critical step towards achieving health equity in our local communities,” said Bernadette Boden-Albala, MPH, DrPH, Director and Founding Dean of the UCI Public Health Program. “Working directly with communities will allow us to develop the kinds of understandings that really make a difference in mitigating the environmental health effects of vulnerable populations. “

Kleinman and Phalen share a bold vision for the future of APHEL, which will expand their work into new areas of study, including radioactivity, nanotechnology, modeling, and the link between climate change and pandemics. Plans are already underway for APHEL’s Fourth International Conference, which will bring together physicians, veterans, engineers, chemists and regulators to discuss a range of topics related to APHEL’s mission.

“Actions sometimes have unexpected results, and our research will play a critical role in helping regulators avoid the effects of unintended consequences,” Kleinman explained.

“In today’s society, we tend to innovate and move forward without first asking ourselves the important question: ‘is it safe? Phelan said. “Our goal is to be proactive rather than reactive. Our work will give regulators the data they need to make informed risk control decisions. If you understand the future, you can change it.

About the program in public health and future School of Public and Population Health: UCI Public health is dedicated to achieving health equity for all populations through public health education, research, service and practice at the local and global levels. Upholding the principles of evidence-based public health science, the program aspires to understand and impact the social, biological and environmental determinants of health and well-being at the population level. Drawing on the diverse expertise of its faculty, it aims to educate the future workforce of California and beyond through exceptional programs and experiential learning opportunities.

About the UCI Brilliant Future campaign: Publicly launched on October 4, 2019, the Brilliant Future campaign aims to raise awareness and support the UCI. By engaging 75,000 alumni and raising $ 2 billion in philanthropic investments, the UCI seeks to reach new heights of excellence in student success, health and wellness, research and more. The planned School of Population and Public Health plays a critical role in the campaign’s success. Learn more by visiting https://brilliantfuture.uci.edu/school-of-population-and-public-health/.

About University of California, Irvine: Founded in 1965, the UCI is the youngest member of the prestigious Association of American Universities and is ranked among the top 10 public universities in the country by American News and World Report. The campus has produced three Nobel Laureates and is known for its academic achievements, leading research, innovation, and anteater mascot. Led by Chancellor Howard Gillman, the UCI has more than 36,000 students and offers 224 degree programs. It is located in one of the safest and fastest growing communities in the world and is Orange County’s second-largest employer, contributing $ 7 billion annually to the local economy and $ 8 billion globally. of State. To find out more about the UCI, visit www.uci.edu.

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