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Theme 4: Project 5 - Improved in vitro systems for evaluation and comparing toxicity of air pollutants

The purpose of this project is to apply the in vitro cell culture and exposure systems developed under project 4 for use in the toxicological assessment of nanomaterials to investigate the toxicity of components of ambient air pollution. These novel systems have not been generally applied to the study of air pollutants, but have many advantages in terms of more realistic exposure modality (ALI aerosol exposure system) and systems biology (co-cultures). One aspect of this is being planned as part of Theme 2 Project 4 with respect to PAHs and particulate matter, with an emphasis on co-culture of lung epithelial cells and macrophages; other aspects will be developed in this project.  Experimental studies are planned to commence in 17/18 and the objective of activities to be undertaken in 16/17 will be to ensure the feasibility of such an approach and develop an appropriate experimental programme targeted at addressing key issues in the area. To this end discussions will be held within the consortium, with other PHE Air Pollution colleagues, members of related HPRUs and if possible with relevant expert bodies (e.g. COMEAP).  

Lead researchers

Professor Terry Tetley


Imperial College London

Dr Rachel Smith

Theme 4 Deputy Leader

Public Health England