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	figure with microscope of cells, fumes

Immune Diseases

Activities: NIOSH Funded Research Grants

NIOSH sponsors research and training through its extramural programs, which complement the Institute's intramural programs. More information is available from the NIOSH Office of Extramural Programs . Our Research Portfolio includes the following NIOSH funded research grants:

Mechanistically-Based In Silico Estimation of Dermal Absorption in the Workplace

This project will develop and apply to occupational risk assessment a sophisticated, yet accessible mathematical model that closely mimics percutaneous penetration, tissue concentrations and clearance of chemicals in human skin in vivo.

Project Period: 9/1/2007 - 8/31/2012

Quantitating Absorption of Complex Chemical Mixtures

The study proposes that skin is a primary route of exposure for many chemicals and that most chemical exposure occurs in mixtures. This will be investigated by using 1. membrane-coated fibers, sensitive to solvatochromatic processes predicted by QSPR models, 2. silicone membrane flow through diffusion cells, sensitive to solvatochromatic processes 3. porcine skin flow through diffusion cells, sensitive to changes in lipid permeability, and 4. isolated perfused porcine skin flaps, sensitive to irritation and vascular events. The intent is to develop a more quantitative and reproducible approach for assessing complex chemical mixture exposure, using novel humane alternative animal model systems with direct relevance to predicting dermal absorption in humans.

Project Period: 6/1/2001 - 3/31/2010

Testing Interventions to Human-Generated Occupational Airborne Infections

The project tests rapid response interventions (surgical masks, portable air disinfection units) and pre-planned or designed interventions (upper room UV irradiation, air handling/conditioning). It will: a) Determine if surgical masks on infectious individuals are at least 50% effective in reducing transmission. b) Determine if commercial portable air disinfection units are at least 75% effective (conventional HEPA filter unit and novel electrostatic air decontamination technology). c) Determine if upper room UVGI is at least 75% effective--and assess effects of air mixing and low humidity. Determine if germicidal irradiation in recirculation ventilation ducts is at least 75% effective. d) Test in-duct UV irradiation at lower single-pass inactivation rates to mimic efficacy against relatively UV-resistant organisms, such as the anthax bacillus.

Project Period: 8/1/2006 - 7/31/2011

Microbiological Characterization and Mitigation of Bioaerosols in CAFOs

This project will use advanced molecular techniques to fully characterize the microbiology of bioaerosols associated with selected CAFOs (swine, poultry, and cattle), employ these techniques to test the efficacies of two engineering processes for bioaerosol disinfection: U.V. irradiation and electrical discharge, and perform longitudinal air sampling at two each of swine, poultry, and cattle CAFOs in order to generalize results. The findings of this study are potentially critical for controlling CAFO workers' exposures to harmful microorganisms, advancing diagnostics, directing antimicrobial therapies, and measuring treatment outcomes. The specific objectives of this project are to: Identify and quantify microorganisms associated with CAFO bioaerosols using traditional and culture independent technology; Develop and validate PCR-based assays applicable to detection and quantification of bioaerosol-associated microbes; Evaluate U.V. irradiation and electrical discharge methods of bioaerosol disinfection in controlled, laboratory environment; Determine the impact on total and viable microbial loads in CAFOs following mitigation with U.V. irradiation and electrical discharge methods of bioaerosol disinfection.

Project Period: 9/15/2006 - 9/14/2010

Evaluation of Organizational Justice Intervention to Alleviate TYPE III Violence

Model workplace policies directed at preventing Type HI workplace violence (coworker violence) are widely available, yet their impact on workplace and worker health has never been rigorously evaluated. This application describes an organizational level intervention focused on organization justice because there is a growing awareness of the importance of organizational climate in contributing to Type III violence. Workplaces with good organizational justice environments foster a healthy work climate that is less permissive towards Type III workplace violence. To date, organizational justice research has been largely correlational, with no intervention studies to show that changing this important aspect of the work setting can reduce coworker violence. Research which includes process and outcome measures are critically needed to assess the impact of prevention efforts on victims, employers and workplaces. An interdisciplinary team of seasoned intervention researchers and state government partners who have conducted workplace violence intervention research for the past seven years will carry out the proposed work. The proposed research will be conducted in two phases. Phase one will include a screening survey of a large cross-section of state government workers and managers (N = 18,000) to assess the prevalence of Type HI workplace violence in their workplaces and associated climate for organizational justice. These screening data will then be used to rank workplaces by risk of Type III violence. Six agencies at high risk of Type HI violence will be randomly assigned to either the intervention or control condition. Researchers and agency partners will then develop, implement and rigorously evaluate the impact of a violence prevention intervention on Type III workplace violence, and organizational justice climate.

Project Period: 9/1/2006 - 8/31/2011