This issue highlights three students who have worked with WCAHS Associate Director, Dr. Kent Pinkerton, to better understand how exposure to California agricultural particulate matter contributes to allergic airway inflammation.
Yoomin Ahn has been involved in studying the mechanisms of adult-onset asthma due to the high incidence of this condition in women in the California Central Valley. Her studies have been instrumental in establishing age-based immune responses leading to enhanced inflammation and greater degradations in lung function in older female mice as a model of adult-onset asthma. Yoomin graduated in September with a MS in Forensic Science and plans to pursue additional training in forensic techniques prior to entering medical school.
Alexa Kim Pham has been studying immune-mediated mechanisms of chronic lung inflammation and pulmonary hypertension due to particulate matter exposure. Her research has established a unique role in the transition of the alveolar macrophage being part of the acute inflammatory process to adapting the lungs to activate repair mechanisms. Alexa is graduating in December with a PhD in Immunology and will return to San Diego to pursue research career opportunities in industry and/or academia.
Alfonso Magaña-Méndez, from the Universidad Autónoma de Baja California, Mexico, studied the pulmonary inflammatory effects of California Central Valley particulate matter in comparison to Chinese particulate matter this summer through a mentoring summer research internship program. The study was done to help both the US and China better understand how the chemical composition of particulate matter influences health effects. Alfonso worked in the lab as well as lectured to pre-veterinary UC Davis students on the respiratory system and the cardiovascular system.