SEMINAR: Investigating Health Effects of Aerosols: Methods and Challenges for Toxicological Research
As scientists we know that many diseases such as asthma, pneumoconiosis and lung cancer are associated with human exposure to certain aerosols. These associations were provided by epidemiological studies conducted after people were exposed and/or they were elucidated by toxicology using animal models, in vitro experiments and sometimes carefully controlled human exposure studies. Since we justify our research by relating it to potential health outcomes, it is important for us to understand how toxicological research is done and its attributes and limitations. This seminar will emphasize in vivo and in vitro animal models and how toxicologists identify the potential health effects of aerosols. Comparative respiratory anatomy and physiology and the lung microenvironment will be described as will the importance of particle deposition and translocation. Specific biological endpoints will be explained with an emphasis on endpoints related to oxidative stress. These endpoints and how they relate to laboratory modes of exposure, mechanisms of pathological action, and their relevance and biological significance will be discussed. Other issues that influence experimental outcomes such as particle overload, deposition hot spots and particle characteristics that affect dose will be addressed. Understanding the methods, limitations and significance of toxicological investigations can provide important context, strengthen complementary efforts and enhance collaborative research.
Dr. Maura Sheehan
Environmental Health Program at West Chester University of Pennsylvania
Dr. Maura Sheehan is a retired Professor in the Environmental Health Program at West Chester University of Pennsylvania. She has taught a variety of undergraduate and graduate courses including industrial hygiene, environmental toxicology and environmental health. She has a B.S. Biology from Lowell Technological Institute, M.S. Environmental Studies from the University of Lowell and Sc.D. Industrial Hygiene from the University of Pittsburgh’s Graduate School of Public Health. Maura is a Certified Industrial Hygienist, a Fellow of the American Industrial Hygiene Association and a member of the American Association for Aerosol Research Working Groups for Health Effects and for Control Technology. She is currently developing a consulting practice. Her research has involved the generation, evaluation and control of workplace aerosols. She applied this research to the development of policy when she chaired the OSHA Advisory Committee on Metalworking Fluids for the US Department of Labor.