Over the past three years, our laboratory has developed the capabilities for the generation, photochemical oxidation, and in vitro exposure of aerosols, including an air-liquid interface (ALI) system and custom-built quartz crystal microbalance inserts to measure particle mass deposition in real-time. This allows us to compare the effects of different types of aerosols using high-fidelity measures of delivered dose. Our work has demonstrated the importance of combustion fuel and particle collection methods on biological responses. Our results also show that combustion-derived PM (cdPM) changes its shape and composition after interacting with secondary inorganic aerosols in the laboratory, which mimics atmospheric aging processes, and these changes induce more oxidative stress and pro-inflammatory cytokine production. We are particularly interested in interactions with ammonium nitrate, sulfate, and chloride, which are key contributors to elevated PM levels in the Intermountain west where we live and work.

This work has been funded by the National Institutes of Environmental Health Sciences.