The University of Surrey and Imperial College London have been awarded a share of a £2.79m grant by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) to investigate the impact indoor and outdoor pollution has on people’s physical health.
Surrey’s Global Centre for Clean Air Research (GCARE) will work with Imperial College London and other partners to develop what they call ‘a multi-scale approach’ that looks at how air pollution affects the cell, lung and person on a ‘micro-environment’ (20m and closer) level.
The INHALE project –called ‘Health Assessment across Biological Length Scales for Personal Pollution Exposure and Its Mitigation’ – will see the team examine the biological and physical aspects of pollutants that determine their cellular fate, their potential for cell and tissue damage, and how this relates to public health.
Researchers will study the dispersion of air pollution particles within a neighbourhood with an emphasis on green infrastructure and their ability to mitigate pollution e.g. hedges and their ability to reduce heavy metal pollution.
They will also examine the physical effects and chemistry of the metals and organic components of particles at the ultracellular level to determine how they impact on metabolism and health.
Professor Prashant Kumar, Director of GCARE at the University of Surrey, said: ‘We are incredibly excited and proud to take part in this multidisciplinary project that aims to understand just how air pollution affects our health on a micro and a macro level.
‘As the world wakes up to the perils of climate change and the damage it does to our planet and human lives – we hope that this project will move us closer to building a world where clean air is available to all.’
Professor Fan Chung, co-lead on the INHALE project from Imperial College London, added: ‘INHALE will link Imperial College London with partners to execute a very exciting novel systems approach that will define the detrimental effects of environmental pollution on the respiratory system at the level of the individual person.’
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