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This week we profile a recent publication in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology from first authors Drs. Hang (Hannah) Li (pictured, second from left) and Min Hyung Ryu (fourth from right) in the lab of Dr. Chris Carlsten (on screen) at UBC.

Can you provide a brief overview of your lab’s current research focus?

Our lab is dedicated to revealing the effects of environmental exposures on human respiratory and immunological health through controlled human exposure studies. We believe that understanding mechanisms helps to suggest preventive and therapeutic interventions.

What is the significance of the findings in this publication?

This randomized, double-blinded, crossover controlled human exposure study reveals that acute diesel exhaust (DE) exposure induces transient changes in epigenetic regulation and proportions of circulating immune subsets at DE concentration of 50 micrograms per cubic meter and above. Our finding suggests that even a modest exposure to air pollution can impact the circulating immune cells via epigenetic modulation.

What are the next steps for this research?

Future steps will involve a more in depth study to reveal the mechanism by which TET family mediate the effect of diesel exhaust and exploration of interventions that might realistically harness the influence of these enzymes.

If you’d like to mention your funding sources, please list them.

We are grateful to WorkSafe Alberta, the Workers Compensation Board of Manitoba, Canada Research Chairs program, WorkSafe BC, the program of China Scholarships Council, and others who supported our work.

 

Read the Publication