This PhD project will assess the effects of air pollutant exposure on the efficacy of medical treatments for respiratory and cardiovascular conditions. The project will use miniature air pollution monitors and medical devices to interpret associations between exposure and changes in blood pressure, heart rate variability, and respiratory function. The project involves collaboration with: Ricardo Energy & Environment; Transport Scotland; RTI International; and medical colleagues in the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital University. Strategic development of collaborative research at the interface between environmental engineering and public health will be of direct benefit to people in Scotland.
Background: The health effects of air pollution are subject to intense scientific scrutiny, with exposure consistently associated with illness & shortening of life expectancy. However the evidence base remains limited by deficiencies in methods used to estimate pollution exposures. Until now a key limitation has been a lack of portable pollution monitoring instruments suitable for quantification of, frequently substantial, exposures in indoor locations. Through NERC and Innovate UK research, and strategic research infrastructure funding, the studentship will benefit from availability of state of the art, portable air quality monitoring equipment. The project will build on existing practical experience in field evaluation of sensors to use novel monitoring systems developed by RTI International to assess in-door air quality and examine the effect of exposure on susceptible individuals attending NHS Blood Pressure and Sleep & Respiratory clinics.