UBCO receives $250K grant through New Frontiers in Research Fund (2020 Exploration Stream)
Assistant Professors Sepideh Pakpour (School of Engineering) and Kirk Bergstrom (Irving K. Barber Faculty of Science) are leading one of seven UBC research projects funded by the New Frontiers in Research Fund (NFRF) 2020 Exploration competition. The initiative is designed to mobilize cutting-edge interdisciplinary, international, and transformative research that strengthens Canadian innovation and benefits Canadians.
The Government of Canada recently announced funding support for 117 research projects across Canada that bring diverse disciplines together in pursuit of breakthrough ideas and high-reward outcomes. The Exploration stream specifically targets research that defies current models, bridges disciplines in novel ways, or tackles fundamental problems from new perspectives.
Understanding the seasonal impacts of microplastic inhalation on health
Principal Investigator: Sepideh Pakpour, UBCO School of Engineering
Co-Principal Investigator: Kirk Bergstrom, UBCO Irving K. Barber Faculty of Science (Biology)
Co-applicant: Edward Grant, UBCV Faculty of Science (Chemistry)
Microplastics pollution has grown to become a world-wide crisis. The inevitable consequence of dramatically increased plastic use, microscopic plastic particles and fibres contaminate natural marine, terrestrial and atmospheric ecosystems. To date, limited studies conducted in Europe, Asia and the Middle East have detected atmospheric microplastics, but no Canadian data yet exists. No systematic scientific study has characterized the health effects of microplastics in the inhalable and respirable ranges (PM 10 and PM 2.5 microns, respectively). To address this research challenge, we will assemble a unique interdisciplinary team forging a close collaborative interaction of leading groups in the fields of Aerobiology, Analytical and Atmospheric Chemistry, System Biology and Immunology to (1) detect and characterize inhalable and respirable microplastics in indoor and outdoor air seasonally, and (2) explore their potential adverse effects on health. The information and insight we gather will inform internationally integrated strategies for the control and mitigation of microplastics pollution with respect to their impact on health and well-being.