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Bushfire smoke particulate and its implication on the heart and lungs in regional Australia

Dr Tatt Jhong Haw, Institution: The University of Newcastle

2021 Vanguard Grant 

Years funded: 2022-2022  

Particulate matters from urbanisation, industry pollution, and natural disasters (e.g. bushfire) can aggravate cardiopulmonary health and lead to hospitalisation or death. There is no ‘safe’ lower exposure levels and adverse cardiopulmonary events can occur at levels below current regulatory standards. Thus, the impact of the catastrophic 2019/2020 Black Summer bushfires on cardiopulmonary health is unprecedented. Approximately 10 million Australians were exposed to bushfire smoke for several months. The impact of bushfire smoke exposure on cardiopulmonary health remains largely unknown. Dr Tatt Jhong Haw's preliminary findings suggest that prolonged exposure to bushfire smoke is detrimental to cardiopulmonary health. To address this clinical urgency, Dr Tatt Jhong Haw's team propose a multidisciplinary and collaborative investigation involving cardiovascular and respiratory researchers. Dr Tatt Jhong Haw and team will use a combination of a highly representative animal model and human cardiac cell studies to comprehensively assess the impacts of bushfire smoke exposure on cardiopulmonary health.

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