Peggy Lai, MD, MPH
Research Awards Nationwide Recipient (2015-2016)
Massachusetts General Hospital
Supported by the Mary Fuller Russell Fund
How Indoor Air Pollution from Chickens Can Affect Lung Health in Rural Africa
Indoor air pollution leads to premature deaths worldwide and is one of the most important risk factors contributing to the global burden of lung disease. We will study how microbes in the indoor environment change after the introduction of chickens to the environment in rural Uganda, and how these microbes can colonize in the airways of people in contact with the chickens and affect lung health. We will also study whether immune suppression due to HIV affects the ability of microbes in our environment to colonize the airways. The findings will allow us to develop future interventions to protect the health of susceptible populations.
Update: We have successfully recruited 88 women in Year 1 of this study and have completed follow-up testing of 81 participants. The women started receiving chickens and we have completed follow-up testing of 30 participants. By Year 2 of this study, we expect to have finished all fieldwork and will proceed with sequencing of microbial DNA to answer the question: How does introduction of new microbes in our environment affect our personal microbiome (the genetic material of all the microbes in and on our body) and our health?