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Understanding how perinatal nicotine exposure influences immune establishment and function for life

Institution: University of California, Santa Cruz
Investigator(s): Taylor Cool,
Award Cycle: 2019 (Cycle 30) Grant #: T30DT0869 Award: $166,350
Subject Area: Pulmonary Disease
Award Type: Dissertation Awards

Initial Award Abstract
Nicotine is the compound responsible for tobacco and electronic cigarette's addictive properties. Recent studies suggest that exposure to nicotine is harmful and has lasting effects on health. Specifically, nicotine exposure during pregnancy has lasting implications on the health and immunity of the fetus and causes increased susceptibility to diseases of the lungs and airways. Additionally, nicotine exposure during fetal development has been shown to increase inflammation and alter immune functions. Hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) are responsible for the formation of all blood and immune cells, making them a plausible source for altered life-long immunity. I am interested in understanding how nicotine exposure during development affects HSCs and the immune cells they generate. Ultimately, I hope to use the new insights gained from this study to develop novel strategies to impede disease development and improve immune function in nicotine-exposed children.