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Samir Kelada and Karen Mohlke
Dr. Samir Kelada and Dr. Karen Mohlke

Dr. Samir Kelada (Associate Professor, Genetics) and Dr. Karen Mohlke (Professor, Genetics) were awarded a 5 year R01 from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) titled “Regulatory Genomics of Ozone Air Pollution Response in Vitro and In Vivo”.

The goal of this project is to identify genetic variants and gene regulatory mechanisms that influence an individual’s susceptibility to ambient air pollutant ozone-induced disease. Human bronchial epithelial cells (hBECs) from 300 individuals will be exposed to ozone or air control and then assessed for ozone-response phenotypes, bulk and single-cell RNA sequencing, and chromatin accessibility. Response QTLs, eQTLs, and caQTLs will be performed and multi-omic data integration will allow for the identification of novel genes that will be validated in vivo and in vitro. Identification and validation of novel genetic candidates will facilitate the development of targeted approaches to mitigate and treat air pollution-induced pulmonary diseases.

Co-Investigators on the grant include Dr. Yun Li ( Professor, Genetics, Biostatistics), Dr. Scott Randell (Associate Professor, Cell Biology and Physiology), Dr. Terry Furey (Professor, Genetics) and Dr. Neil Alexis (Professor, Pediatrics) from UNC Chapel Hill and a collaboration with Dr. Mehrdad Arjomandi at the University of California, San Francisco.