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June 3, 2021 26 min

From vaping to wildfire smoke to pollutants such as diesel exhaust to airborne diseases, the lungs are the organ most exposed to our external environment, according to Ilona Jaspers of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Dr. Jaspers also introduces co-hosts Anne Chappelle and David Faulkner to convergence science, a new approach to interdisciplinary work meant to bring disparate experts together.


About the Guest

Ilona Jaspers, PhD, is a Professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC-CH) in the Department of Pediatrics; Division of Rheumatology, Allergy, and Immunology; and Division of Infectious Diseases, with joint appointments in the Departments of Microbiology and Immunology as well as Environmental Sciences and Engineering. She received her undergraduate degree from Seton Hall University and her PhD in environmental health sciences from New York University. Dr. Jaspers came to UNC-CH to conduct her postdoctoral studies in the Center for Environmental Medicine, Asthma, and Lung Biology. 

Dr. Jaspers has a long-standing interest in the adverse health effects induced by inhaled pollutant exposures, especially how they affect respiratory immune responses. As the Director of the Center for Environmental Medicine, Asthma, and Lung Biology, Dr. Jaspers collaborates extensively with investigators from UNC-CH and the US Environmental Protection Agency to conduct translational studies related to air pollution health effects. Using translational human in vitro and in vivo models, research in Dr. Jaspers’s laboratory focuses on the mechanisms by which exposure to air pollutants such as ozone, woodsmoke, cigarette smoke, and e-cigarettes modifies host defense responses. 

Dr. Jaspers also is the Director of the Curriculum in Toxicology, overseeing the training and mentoring of graduate students as well as postdoctoral fellows. She is passionate about training the next generation of scientists, always encouraging trainees to get involved in non-laboratory events, such as community outreach service, K–12 education, or public health activities. She is an expert on the health effects of vaping and toxicities of e-cigarette components and has been active in the community to educate parents, teachers, health care providers, and teenagers about the dangers of vaping.



The viewpoints and information presented in Adverse Reactions represent those of the participating individuals. Although the Society of Toxicology holds the copyright to the production, it does not vet or review the information presented, nor does presenting and distributing the Adverse Reactions podcast represent any proposal or endorsement of any position by the Society.

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