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Climate Change and Airborne Contaminants

Effect of environmental exposures on lung disease progression

RIG members have access to animal models, patient samples and questionnaires that allows the members to translate findings of how environmental exposures (air pollution, pesticides, nanoparticles) drive infectious and inflammatory lung diseases. The membership of this RIG has expertise in inhalation toxicology, lipid metabolism, innate immunity and pulmonary fibrosis.

Main goal: Foster collaboration and exchange of ideas amongst members and facilitate more NIEHS funding.

Group Leader

Headshot of Vijay Sivaraman

Sivaraman, Vijay
Associate Professor, Dept. of Biological and Biomedical Sciences
Email  |  Bio

Dr. Sivaraman is an Associate Professor in the Department of Biological and Biomedical Sciences and a member of the BRITE and JLC-BBRI research institutes at North Carolina Central University. Dr. Sivaraman’s research program studies the immunology of lung inflammation due to a variety of insults and exposures, and works under the basic premise that environmental exposures and social behaviors may increase the pathology of infectious diseases upon the respiratory system. Other research areas include evaluation of E-cig toxicity and gender-differences in pulmonary exacerbation, and is currently funded by an NIGMS SCORE grant. Dr. Sivaraman previously led the Pulmonary Health RIG from 2020-2023.

Headshot of Sinan Sousan

Sousan, Sinan
Assistant Professor, Dept. of Public Health
Email  | Bio

Dr. Sousan joined the Department of Public Health, East Carolina University and the North Carolina Agromedicine Institute as an Assistant Professor in 2018. He became a full member of the CHHE in 2022. Dr. Sousan’s research focuses on measuring personal and environmental airborne exposures (aerosols and toxic gases) using low-cost sensors, and the possible health effects based on quantitative analysis of the data collected. He has acquired internal and external funding, including NIH. His current projects are low-cost sensor-based quantification of secondhand electronic cigarette exposure, respiratory protection and respirator efficiency tests, and detecting airborne pathogens inside buildings. In addition, his research interest extends to physical hazards such as extreme temperatures, UV exposure, and noise, focusing on mitigating extreme temperatures due to climate change using low-cost physiological and environmental sensors. Dr. Sousan has been a RIG co-lead since September 2023.