The respiratory system is a central target of environmental exposures and epidemiologic studies show that rural communities in North Carolina have a relatively high incidence of respiratory diseases, particularly asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). The reason for this higher incidence in rural communities is not clear. Factors such as lower socio-economic status and fewer health care providers relative to urban and suburban areas likely contribute to increased incidence of disease in underserved rural and minority populations. Importantly, individuals in rural agricultural communities are exposed to relatively high levels of pesticides, bacterial endotoxins present in organic particles and dusts and Confined Animal Feeding Operations (CAFO)-associated gases. The Respiratory Research Initiative coordinates a multidisciplinary group of scientists, including, toxicologists, cell biologists, and epidemiologists to address the role that these environmental factors have on respiratory health, the mechanisms of disease pathogenesis and issues of exposure and susceptibility among individuals in rural settings. The respiratory research initiative is led by Dr. James Bonner, PhD an Associate Professor in the Department of Environmental and Molecular Toxicology.
Kenneth Adler, PhD Professor, Department of Molecular Biomedical Sciences
Jane Hoppin, ScD Environmental Epidemiologist, NIEHS (Adjunct Professor NC State)
Stephanie J. London, MD, DrPH Epidemiologist, Head of the Genetics, Environment & Respiratory Disease Group at NIEHS
Dr. Philip Sannes, PhD Professor in the Department of Molecular Biomedical Science