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Understanding the Role of Combustion Particle Pollution and Upper Airway Disease In Utah

The project will be a new-cross campus partnership between the CoE (Dr. Kelly, ChE, PhD, PE), CofM (Dr. Jeremiah Alt, Surgery, Division of Otolaryngology MD, PhD), and CofPh/CoE (Dr. Hamid Ghandehari, Pharmaceutics/Bioengineering, PhD). This team will tackle a critical Utah problem, understanding how particle pollution affects chronic rhinosinusitis (CRS), a debilitating disease of sinonasal inflammation. Treating patients with CRS costs $64B annually, accounting for 5% of the total US health care budget, with an estimated additional $13B from lost work productivity. Despite its prevalence and the financial, health, and societal burden, CRS remains an under-researched epidemic with limited effective treatment options. The project will specifically address the lack of a mechanistic understanding of CRS. It also addresses the University’s four strategic goals: it will 1) develop new knowledge regarding how air pollution affects mucociliary clearance central to the etiology of CRS and position the team to submit a successful NIH R01 application to the NIAID (primary) and NIEHS (secondary), 2) promote student success by providing an opportunity to work in a truly interdisciplinary team, with the potential to transform the lives of CRS patients, 3) lead to strategies to educate patients with CRS with the means to mitigate exacerbations, 4) contribute to our understanding of one of the region’s most challenging problems – poor air quality – and its associated health effects.


College of Engineering
Chemical Engineering
Project Owner

School of Medicine
Department of Surgery, Division of Otolaryngology

College of Pharmacy
Pharm & PharmaceuticalChemstry

Project Info

Funded Project Amount

Air quality, upper airway disease, chronic rhinosinusitis, particulate matter

Project Status
Funded 2020
Last Updated: 1/23/20