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With a four-year, $1.9 million grant from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, UCLA researchers will study the pulmonary effects of electronic cigarettes.
The team, led by Dr. Yifang Zhu, professor of environmental health sciences and acting dean of the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health, will carry out the study in three parts. The first part will involve ranking the liquids and devices used in e-cigarettes according to their harmful effects. The team will do this through a process known as high throughput screening, which will allow them to test how a large sample of ingredients affect lung cells. Next, the researchers will use an artificial lung to study how inhaling e-cigarette aerosols disrupts function. Finally, they’ll study how mice are affected by short- and long-term exposure to e-cigarette emissions.
Dr. Zhu says the group’s ultimate goal is to understand how e-cigarettes may affect human health and to provide data the federal government can use to make regulatory decisions.
“There’s still very limited information about e-cigarettes and pulmonary toxicity,” she said. “The entire e- cigarette industry has developed much faster than the research. We hope that our work will help fill in the knowledge gap.”
In addition to Zhu, the research team will include UCLA researchers Dr. Airi Harui, an assistant researcher in UCLA’s interdepartmental program in molecular toxicology, and Dr. Michael Roth, professor of medicine in the division of pulmonary and critical care at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and a member of the molecular toxicology program, Dr. Chi-Hong Tseng, professor of medicine, and Dr. Tian Xia, associate adjunct professor of medicine.