University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine, Chapel Hill, North Carolina

I'm the director of the University of North Carolina Center for Environmental Medicine, Asthma and Lung Biology. Our research center is closely aligned and affiliated with the Environmental Protection Agency Human Studies Division and we also have funding from the National Institutes of Health and other funders specifically to study the effects of environmental agents and how environmental agents worsen both asthma and other diseases as well.

We also, part of our NIH funding derives from the National Center for Complimentary and Alternative Medicines and also the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. The projects funded by theses agencies are to determine whether or not air pollutants worsen asthma, specifically look at how air pollutants might worsen asthma and specifically enhance responsiveness to allergens. And whether or not certain antioxin vitamins or other interventions that are relatively novel may interfere with the pollutant-induced worsening of asthma.

We're quite interested in this because with urban growth being what it is in the United States, we certainly are going to see a greater exposure of more numbers of people to higher levels of pollution. So this has been an area that UNC has specially put time and resources into developing and we're quite proud of the fact that we have both robust federal funding and an ongoing interactive collaboration with our local partners with the Environmental Protection Agency as well with the National Institute of the Environmental Health Sciences.