My research focuses upon the role of inhaled particles in the development of pulmonary and systemic diseases. My lab has made major strides in studying experimentally how increases in inhaled ambient particles lead to death, a serious public health problem found in epidemiological studies. I have advocated the concept that the principle target organ for ambient particle effects is the heart. I am Co-Director of the Harvard – EPA Clean Air Research Center and I head of the Inhaled Particles Research Core in the NIEHS Center at HSPH. My research focuses upon responses to inhaled particulates and uses novel exposure models developed to assess health effects of ‘real-world’ ambient atmospheric particles. We seek to understand specific autonomic nervous system and inflammatory mechanisms by which particles affect the cardiovascular system. Overall, about 50% of my academic effort is directed toward research.
I lead the pulmonary pathology service at Brigham and Women's Hospital. My research area in that settting focuses upon asbestos as the cause of mesothelioma and seeks to understand mechanisms of fiber redistribution in the thorax, carcinogenesis, patterns of tumor growth with this malignancy that have prognostic significance, and how levels of retained asbestos fibers may play a role in patient survival.
I have teaching responsibilities at Harvard School of Public Health as a mentor of pre and postdoctoral fellows. In the context of the Harvard-Brazilian program, I have developed a highly successful medical student research program with Professor Paulo Saldiva at the University of Sao Paulo Medical School. This program gives Brazilian medical students a one year experience in research in my laboratory with the purpose to initiate interest among future physicians in the adverse health effects of air pollution, a critically important issue in Brazilian cities. Over the past 5 years, more than 30 students have had this experience, and many continue to pursue environmentally related research in Brazil.
At Brigham and Women’s Hospital, I am the primary mentor of residents and fellows in pulmonary pathology. At HMS, I currently teach in the introductory pathology course, and have taught in the pulmonary and infectious disease courses. I have clinical responsibilities for pulmonary pathology at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. I am the primary liaison of the pathology department with the BWH thoracic surgery and pulmonary medicine programs. I have clinical interaction, teaching, and research responsibilities with those programs through participation in their clinical management, clinical conferences, and research programs as consultant pathologist.