How air pollution affects the quality of life
Two UC Davis scientists who are looking closely at how air pollution talk about how it can make us sick, and what we can do to clean up our air.
Anthony Wexler, director of the UC Davis Air Quality Research Center, studies the chemical and physical nature of air pollution. He is co-director of a new $8 million research grant to study air pollution in California's huge San Joaquin Valley, where bad air is responsible for the nation's highest rates of asthma in children.
Joining him is Kent Pinkerton, director of the UC Davis Center for Health and the Environment. Pinkerton studies the microscopic changes that occur in our cells when they react to air pollutants. He is co-director on the $8 million research project and recently showed for the first time how secondhand cigarette smoke damages babies' lungs.
- "Something in the air," UC Davis Magazine, Spring 2006
- "Air pollution grant," NewsWatch, 11.21.05 (Real Media webcast)
- "Air pollution grant II," NewsWatch, 11.28.05 (Real Media webcast)
- "UC Davis Wins $8 Million EPA Grant to Study Health Effects of Air Pollution," UC Davis News Service, 11.15.05
Anthony Wexler, atmospheric scientist
Wexler studies the chemical and physical nature of air pollution and is a professor affiliated with three academic units on campus: the departments of Mechanical and Aeronautical Engineering; Civil and Environmental Engineering; and Land, Air and Water Resources.
He co-directs a new $8 million federal research grant to study air pollution in California's huge San Joaquin Valley, where bad air is responsible for one of the nation's highest rates of asthma in children.
One of Wexler's chief interests is in learning how very small particles -- measured in nanometers, or billionths of a meter -- contribute to air pollution and affect human health and climate. The role of these atmospheric nanoparticles is one of the largest unknowns in understanding global climate change, Wexler says.
He has developed new equipment for analyzing single nanoparticles in polluted air; a device for removing and analyzing airborne nanoparticulates; and an aerodynamic nozzle for aerosol particle beam formations. Wexler has also developed the method and instruments for online detection, sizing or analysis of aerosol particles. Some have been patented by the University of California.
The recipient of several national and university research and teaching honors, Wexler served as president of the American Association for Aerosol Research in 2005-2006.
Contact: Anthony Wexler, Mechanical and Aeronautical Engineering, (530) 754-6558, firstname.lastname@example.org
Kent Pinkerton, professor of anatomy, physiology and cell biology
Pinkerton, who has a doctorate in pathology, directs the UC Davis Center for Health and the Environment. He is also co-director with Wexler on the San Joaquin Valley air pollution study.
In particular, Pinkerton focuses on the microscopic changes that occur in our cells when they react to air pollutants. He investigates how pollutants produce toxic effects in the lung, the interaction of gases and airborne particles at specific sites and in specific cell populations of the lungs, and the effects of environmental tobacco smoke on lung growth and development.
He recently showed for the first time how secondhand cigarette smoke damages unborn and newborn babies' lungs in an unprecedented fashion leading to cell death.
Pinkerton received the 2006 Faculty Distinguished Teaching Award from the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine. He currently chairs the Regents Scholarship Advisory Committee at UC Davis.
Contact: Kent Pinkerton, Veterinary Medicine, (530) 752-8334, email@example.com