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Characterization, Dynamics and Biological Impact of Indoor Airborne Dust Exposure

Mission and goals

This RISE project has the goal of increasing the number of minority and under-represented students who pursue advanced graduate degrees (specifically Ph.D. students at TSU), thereby meeting our nation’s critical future workforce demands in STEM fields. The two research goals of the project are:

  1. Indoor Airborne Dust Definition:This study aims to identify major sources of indoor airborne dust, including outdoor sources, and associated chemical pollutants and biological components, and quantify the contribution of each source to indoor pollution. This study will also investigate impacts of residents’ life styles (e.g., smoking, candle burning, meal cooking, wearing shoes indoor) on indoor pollution. The secondary focus of this study is to continuously monitor indoor PM10 and PM2.5 concentrations and associated pollutants, and use this data in correlation with the information obtained from collected samples. The most significant chemical and biological pollutants isolated, characterized from collected indoor dust samples will be used in research aim 2.
  2. Response to Dust Induced Stress:Indoor dust has both chemical and biological components. The biological components include dead human skin and the mites feeding on them, their feces, bacterial lipopolysaccharides, enzymes secreted by them, as well as other bacterial and fungal bio-contaminates. We propose to study the effect of the organic and inorganic components of house dust on induction of reactive oxygen species (ROS), NF-kB, Activator Protein 1 (AP-1), and MAP kinase signaling in human lung cells.


TECH 206 | (713) 313.4482
Curriculum Vitae

Funding source

This program is funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) through a Research Infrastructure in Science and Engineering (RISE) award (HRD-1829184) of $999,786 over the 3 year period 10/01/2018 – 09/30/2021.

Contact Information

Department of Environmental and Interdisciplinary Sciences
Science Center, Room 303
Texas Southern University
3100 Cleburne Avenue, Houston TX 77004
tel: 713-313-4259
fax: 713-313-7065


TECH 206 | (713) 313.4482
Curriculum Vitae
Professor and Interim Associate Dean for Academic Affairs
SB 203G | (713) 313.7912
Curriculum Vitae
COE 212 | (713) 313.1033
Curriculum Vitae
Associate Professor
Nabrit 205B | (713) 313.1028
Curriculum Vitae

Current Graduate Students

  • Shari Galvin
  • Allen White
  • Dayan Abdullah-Smoot

Current and Past Summer Research Students

Research and Services

  • Cell and Tissue Culture
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Signaling
  • Modeled Microgravity
  • Microbiological Analysis
  • Biofilm formation studies
  • Environmental sampling
  • Sample analysis
  • Computer modeling
  • Environmental simulation

Equipment and Labs

Cell Signaling Lab:

Microbiology Lab:

Environmental Lab:

High Performance Computing Lab

Presentations and Conference Papers

  • Abrasive detachment of platinum group elements in catalytic converters, Texas Academy of Science 118th General Meeting, 03/08/2015
  • Atmospheric carcinogenic polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in Houston, TX, USA_ Pine needles as passive samplers, Environmental Science meeting, 09/15/2014
  • Atmospheric particulate matter pollution and platinum in soil, road dust, and plants in Houston, Texas, ERN meeting, 02/20/2015
  • Effect of Platinum Group Elements from Road Dust on P38 Protein Expression, Texas Southern University Summer Research Program Closing Ceremonies, August 1st 2015
  • Effects of Platinum Group Element Exposure on a gut microbiome model system including Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Enterococcus faecalis, Escherichia coli, and HT29 cells, Texas Academy of Science 118th General Meeting, 03/08/2015
  • Fast screening of atmospheric particulate matter concentrations, Environmental Science meeting, 05/29/2015
  • Orthogonal Polynomial Projection Quantization method application to hydrogen atom in large magnetic field, DAMOP meeting, 06/12/2015
  • Road Dust Activated ERK in Lung Epithelial Cells in vitro, 118th Annual Meeting of the Texas Academy of Science, 03/08/2015
  • Road Dust Containing Platinum Group Elements Activated, MAPK-JNK Pathway in Lung Epithelial Cells in vitro, 2015 AAAS Emerging Researchers Network Conference, 02/20/2015
  • Vaccination-its Science and Socio-Political Issues, Christ the King Lutheran Church, 05/18/2015

Journals Papers

  • Azu, Nkem Rosenzweig, Jason Shishodia, Shishir (2016). Guggulsterone for chemoprevention of cancer. Current Pharmaceutical Design. Curr Pharm Des. 2016;22(3):294-306.
  • C Philippat, D Bennett, P Krakowiak, M Rose, H-M Hwang, I Hertz-Picciotto (2014). Phthalate concentrations in house dust in relation to autism spectrum disorders and developmental delay in the Childhood Autism Risk from Genes and Environment (CHARGE) Study. Environmental Health
  • C. R. Handy, D. Vrinceanu, C. B. Marth and H. A. Brooks (2015). Pointwise reconstruction of wave functions from their moments through weighted polynomial expansions: an alternative global-local quantization procedure. Physics Letters A. 379.
  • Esmaeili, Mahsa Lalinde-Barnes, Sloan Olufemi, Suraju Mohammed (Primary Participant) Rosenzweig, Jason Shishodia, Shishir Venkata, Sachindra (2015). The effects of indoor and outdoor dust exposure on the growth, sensitivity to oxidative stress, and biofilm production of three opportunistic bacterial pathogens. Science of the Total Environment. 538 949.
  • H-M Hwang, BL Buchholz, TM Young, JA Pederson (2014). Assessment of the contribution of modern carbon sources to size-resolved atmospheric particulate matter and time-resolved bulk PM10 using measurement of radiocarbons and molecular markers.. Atmospheric Environment.
  • Hwang, Hyun-Min Rosenzweig, Jason (Primary Participant) Shishodia, Shishir Vrinceanu, Daniel (2016). Vertical Training of STEM Students from High School through Ph.D. Candidates Using an Interdisciplinary Project Evaluating the Effects of Road Dust on Biological Systems. American Biology Teacher. In Press.
  • Hwang, Hyun-Min (2016). Significant spatial variability of bioavailable PAHs in water column and sediment porewater in the Gulf of Mexico one year after the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill. Environmental Monitoring and Assessment. In Press.
  • Rosenzweig, Jason (2014). Low-shear force associated with modeled microgravity and spaceflight does not similarly impact the virulence of notable bacterial pathogens.. Appl Microbiol Biotechnol. 98 8797.
  • Rosenzweig, Jason (2015). Interaction between the RNA-dependent ATPase and poly_A_ polymerase subunits of the TRAMP complex is mediated by short peptides and important for snoRNA processing. Nucleic Acids Research. 43 1848.
  • Suraju MO, Lalinde-Barnes S, Sanamvenkata S, Esmaeili M, Shishodia S, and Rosenzweig JA (2015). The Effects of House and Road Dust, Containing Platinum Group Elements, on the Growth Kinetics, Sensitivity to Oxidative Stress, and Biofilm Production of Three Representative Human Gut Opportunistic Pathogens. Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology.
  • Vrinceanu, Daniel (2015). Global-Local Algebraic Quantization of a Two-Dimensional Non-Hermitian Potential. International Journal of Theoretical Physics. 54 4005.
  • Vrinceanu, Daniel (2015). Pointwise reconstruction of wave functions from their moments through weighted polynomial expansions_ an alternative global-local quantization procedure. Mathematics. 3 1045.
  • Vrinceanu, Daniel (2016). A Power Moment Reformulation of the Nikiforov-Uvarov Method for Exactly Solvable Systems. Canadian Journal of Physics. 99. In Press.
  • Vrinceanu, Daniel (2016). Demonstrating universal scaling for dynamics of Yukawa one-component plasmas after an interaction quench. Physical Review E. 93 02320.
  • Vrinceanu, Daniel (2016). Momentum space orthogonal polynomial projection quantization. Journal of Physics A. 49.

PhD Scholarship

Minority PhD students in the Environmental Toxicology program may competitively apply for the NSF RISE Fellowships which carry a stipend in the amount of $22,000 per student for 12 months in addition to an $8000.00 tuition waiver. Travel to national and local conferences may also be competitively supported for Fellowship awardees.


  • US citizenship or Permanent Residency
  • Curriculum Vitae that includes your most recent employment, previous fellowships, scholarships, awards, publications
  • Research Interests and Study Plan in one of the areas of concern for the RISE grant.
  • Two letters of reference and transcripts

Application forms and instructions can be downloaded here.