Secondment to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill


Faria Khan, NaMeS PhD student, took part in the research secondment at Professor Jason D. Surratt and Professor Rebecca Fry’s research group at Gilling School of Global Public Health, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA. The goal of the secondment was to determine how heterogenous aging of particulate 2-MT OS in the atmosphere may contribute to increased oxidative stress in BEAS-2B lung cells.

During the secondment, Faria Khan took part in several lab training and completed additional coursework. These lab training involved the understanding the preparation and study of authentic 2-methyltetrol sulfates (2-MT OS) to aerosolize them through atomization and then systematically expose them to varying levels of •OH in a custom-built oxidation flow reactor (PAM reactor).

In addition to this, Faria audited several courses, including environmental chemistry, atmospheric physics and chemistry (offered by Prof Jason Surratt), advanced toxicology, and public health entrepreneurship.

Faria Khan took part in the following two prestigious USA conference and presented her results: “Biomass Burning Aerosol Components Impair Mitochondrial Functioning to Induce Toxicological Response in Lung Cell Lines.” (38th  The American Association for Aerosol Research, Raleigh, North Carolina, USA), “Toxicological Response of α-Pinene-Derived Secondary Organic Aerosol and its Molecular Tracers in Human Lung Cells” (Annual North Carolina Chapter Society of Toxicology, USA).

The secondment concluded with the successful completion of the undertaken project. The results suggest heterogeneous aging of 2-MT OS particles results in increased oxidative stress and anti-inflammatory responses.  In addition to the aging, the particle composition and chemical structure induced variable expression of the genes. This expression is significantly dose dependent. The exciting result finding is under the process of analysis, and after it, the manuscript shall be prepared with the collaboration of co-PI Jason Surratt.


1 Dec.2019 - 15 Dec. 2020


North Carolina, USA


Faria Khan

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No. 711859.