Scott Simon, PhD - Department of Biomedical Engineering

Innate immune response to ozone insult and Streptococcus pneumoniae
Air pollution is a major health concern, especially for those that live in densely populated urban areas. Breathing in high levels of contaminants increases the likelihood of acquiring serious medical conditions, such as asthma and bacterial pneumonia, and long-term exposure can lead to more serious complications, like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Ozone is a particularly hazardous chemical that is one of the more common air contaminants. Exposure to ozone causes increased inflammation in the lungs and amplifies the susceptibility to bacterial infections. Neutrophils, the primary antibacterial immune cell, play a major role in acute response to ozone exposure. There is a lack of knowledge regarding the sensitivity of neutrophils to ozone insult as well as the effects ozone has on their ability to combat a bacterial infection in the lung. The objective of this study is to gauge the effect of ozone exposure on the innate immune response using a mouse model of infection.