Air Quality project - Toxicity Burden with Ambient PM2.5

This is a joint collaboration project between Dr Simon Hu at Zhejiang University and Dr Vishal Verma at University Illinois at Urbana Champaign. The project tried to explore the burden of toxicity associated with the ambient fine particulate matter (PM) in different regions of the human lungs. Ambient PM2.5 is the fifth largest risk factor contributing to global burden of disease. Globally, 4.2 million deaths were attributable to ambient PM2.5 pollution in 2015, which repre-sented 7·6% of total global deaths. A large fraction of these deaths, i.e. 38 %, were in China. The inhalable fraction of the ambient PM (PM2.5 or the particles in size below 2.5 µm) is known to deposit in various parts of the human lungs and induce del-eterious reactions resulting into toxic byproducts, which ultimately lead to both respiratory and cardio-vascular diseases. Through a size-segregated ambient aerosol sampling in USA and China, followed by a comprehensive chemical composition and toxicity analysis, we will develop a model using com-putational fluid dynamics (CFD), to predict the toxicity imparted by the ambient aerosols in various parts of the lungs. This project will combine the expertise of Dr. Vishal Verma’s reserach group for sampling the ambient aerosols and the measurement of their toxicity, and Dr. Simon Hu’s research group on transportation emission modelling, air quality modelling and pollution source apportionment to assess the impacts of human exposure on these pollutants.

In addition, the proposal will generate the data, for the first time, on the size-segregated toxicity of ambient PM2.5 in China, which currently is among the most air-polluted countries of the world and struggling to curb the PM2.5 concentrations in its various cities. The preliminary results generated through this initiative will be used to prepare a larger grant proposal to be submitted to Health Effects Institute (HEI), National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC) or NSF (USA), investigating the health effects of ambient PM2.5.


Project Details


Vishal Verma   Principle Investigator
Simon Hu   Co-Investigator
Wei Liu   Co-Investigator
Yuqi Wang   Research Student
Kaiwei Sun   Research Student