[Climate Change and Allergic Airway Disease] Observational,Laboratory, and Modeling Studies of the Impacts of Climate Change onAllergic Airway Disease

EPA Grant Number: R834547
Title: [Climate Change and Allergic Airway Disease] Observational,Laboratory, and Modeling Studies of the Impacts of Climate Change onAllergic Airway Disease
Investigators: Bielory, Leonard , Bonos, Stacy , Georgopoulos, Panos G. , Hom, John , Isukapalli, Sastry S. , Lankow, Richard , Mayer, Henry , Robock, Alan , Velliyagounder, Kabilan , Ziska, Lewis
Institution: Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
EPA Project Officer: Ilacqua, Vito
Project Period: April 1, 2010 through March 31, 2012 (Extended to March 31, 2016)
Project Amount: $900,000
RFA: Climate Change and Allergic Airway Disease (2008) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Global Climate Change , Health , Climate Change


Global change affects allergic airway disease (AAD) through changes in exposure to pollen-associated allergens and changes in sensitivity to the allergens. This project proposes to better characterize the mechanisms involved. Investigators will (1) Develop a regional atmospheric dynamic model of pollen production, distribution and dispersion; (2) Develop a population exposure and dose model for estimating pollen exposures (3) Generate pollen phenology from the existing 25 years database from the existing certified 74 U.S. pollen counting stations; (4) Use the regional model to determine how climate change over the next 50 years will change pollen production, distribution, dispersion, and subsequently exposures; and (5) Determine the impact of climate change on pollen allergenicity (allergen content) of various species of plants (grasses, weeds, and trees) using plant chamber and transects with in vitro (immunological, molecular plant genomics) and in vivo (human skin testing) techniques.


Several of the above investigators have developed a novel dynamic pollen emission and dispersion model for New Jersey and the Northeast region and applied it to existing data from our pollen counting station. Allergenic species-specific emission rates exceeding 3000 grains/m2 were estimated in some locations, and strong correlations were observed between predicted pollen emission rates and measured pollen counts. This modeling demonstrated that emissions and transport of different types of pollen were well simulated for the eastern US. Alternative formulations for modeling pollen transport (HYSPLIT and CMAQ) showed close agreement. Significant levels of pollen are transported over tens of kilometers of distance, depending on the height of release, pollen type, and meteorological conditions.

Expected Results:

Based on these data and preliminary studies, this proposal will be composed of a multiscale source-to-dose analysis approach for assessing the exposure interactions of environmental and biological systems. Once the entire modeling system is validated, it will run for two 10-year periods, one centered 25 years from the present and one 50 years from the present. This will allow for the consideration of interannual variability and will not be dependent on the weather of one particular year. In addition, the assessment of climate change impact on allergenicity of several species of plants (grasses, weeds and trees) through the multiscale approach as presented in this proposal will provide a virtual window of allergenic pollen production and dispersion occurring in the near future.

Publications and Presentations:

Publications have been submitted on this project: View all 63 publications for this project

Journal Articles:

Journal Articles have been submitted on this project: View all 14 journal articles for this project

Supplemental Keywords:

allergens, exposure, climate change, health effects, dose-response,, RFA, Health, Scientific Discipline, Air, Health Risk Assessment, climate change, Risk Assessments, Environmental Monitoring, Ecological Risk Assessment, air quality modeling, ecosystem models, climatic influence, climate related morbidity, emissions impact, modeling, climate models, demographics, human exposure, regional climate model, ambient air pollution, Global Climate Change

Progress and Final Reports:

  • 2010 Progress Report
  • 2011 Progress Report
  • 2012 Progress Report
  • 2013 Progress Report
  • 2014 Progress Report
  • Final Report