Dr. Noah is a pediatric pulmonologist who studies the impact of air pollutants on the respiratory system utilizing human translational models, particularly as it relates to the respiratory immune response in the setting of viral infections.
Along with investigators at UNC’s Center for Environmental Medicine, Asthma and Lung Biology (CEMALB), Dr. Noah has performed translational studies examining the impact of tobacco smoke and diesel exhaust on influenza infection. These studies generated data suggesting that 1) chronic tobacco smoke exposure blunts antiviral pathways and natural killer cell function in the airway epithelium 2) diesel exhaust amplifies allergic inflammation while also blunting innate immune pathways. Spinoffs of this work included a multidisciplinary, collaborative project between the UNC Burn Center and CEMALB to study airway inflammatory and other factors influencing risk for acute lung injury and infection in victims of inhalational injury.
In addition, Dr. Noah and his colleagues have completed a controlled chamber exposure study of wood smoke exposure effects on the live, attenuated influenza vaccine in adult volunteers. He is also investigating effects of e-cigarettes and other alternative tobacco products on antiviral mucosal immunity along with Ilona Jaspers. Dr. Noah also serves as a co-investigator on a study of the effects of obesity on immunologic response to influenza vaccine, which has produced multiple publications demonstrating suppression of T-cell responses to flu vaccine among adults.
Dr. Noah’s future goals are to continue his involvement in significant team science research in order to mitigate the effects of particulate air pollution on respiratory mucosal host defense.