Human Exposure Laboratory

The Human Exposure Laboratory (HEL) is one of a small number of facilities in the U.S. that are equipped to conduct controlled human exposure studies of inhaled pollutants.

The HEL, built in 1985 and renovated in 2008, is equipped with a 9'x9'x9' environmental chamber with automated climate control; generation and monitoring equipment for many pollutants including ozone, chlorine, secondhand tobacco smoke, and wood smoke exposure; exercise treadmill and cycle ergometer; equipment for cardiorespiratory physiologic testing; and an adjacent wet lab for experimentation on biologic samples (blood, sputum, nasal and bronchoalveolar lavage samples) using a variety of basic molecular and cell biology approaches.

The HEL has been studying the respiratory and cardiovascular responses to air pollutants of human subjects for over 25 years supported by funding from the NIH, the Health Effects Institute, the California Air Resources Board, the Flight Attendant Medical Research Institute, the American Lung Association, and the Chest Foundation.

The Vision

Both the upper and lower respiratory tracts are constantly exposed to various environmental pollutants, allergens, and toxins, which interact with airways and alveoli and result in inflammation, injury, and disease. Exposure-related respiratory and cardiovascular diseases are increasingly recognized as a growing global problem. The mission of HEL is to study the health effects of air pollutants with emphasis on oxidative stress and inflammation as mechanisms by which inhaled pollutants contribute to cardiopulmonary pathophysiology in health and disease.

Human Exposure Laboratory Faculty

Human Exposure Laboratory Projects

The following provides a list of currently ongoing studies at HEL:

  1. Multicenter Ozone Study in Elderly (MOSES) Funded by the Health Effects Institute(HEI)
  2. Effect of GSTM1 Genotype on Ozone-Induced Allergic Airway Inflammation Funded by the California Air Resources Board (CARB)
  3. Osteopontin in Oxidative Injury and Airway Remodeling in Asthma Funded by NIH/NHLBI
  4. Human Inhalational Exposure Studies (HITS) Funded by a gift from Stromedix Inc.
  5. Cardiovascular Effects of Exposure to Secondhand Smoke (SHS) Funded by the Flight Attendants Medical Research Institute (FAMRI)
  6. Cardiovascular Effects of Exposure to Thirdhand Smoke (THS) Funded by Tobacco-Related Disease Research Program (TRDRP)