Respiratory Disease Expert to Highlight WVU Health Sciences Research Day April 28

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – An expert in the health effects of environmental pollutants will be the featured speaker at West Virginia University’s annual Health Sciences Research Day on Friday, April 28.

Charles Plopper, Ph.D., will present “Early Childhood Exposure to Environmental Pollutants – Implications for Lung Disease” at noon in the Robert C. Byrd Health Sciences Center Auditorium.

“West Virginians suffer from a high incidence of lung diseases, especially asthma and chronic obstructive lung disease,” says Thomas M. Saba, Ph.D., WVU’s associate vice president for health sciences research and graduate education. “By bringing a nationally-recognized expert in respiratory diseases to campus we can the importance of collaboration among researchers in medicine, engineering, chemistry and biology at WVU, as well as in environmental and occupational health at NIOSH.”

Dr. Plopper is a professor of anatomy, physiology and cell biology at the University of California, Davis, and is the director of the National Institutes of Health Multidisciplinary Program Project. He received his doctoral degree from the University of California and postdoctoral training in electron microscopy at both the U.S. Army Medical Research Laboratory in Denver and the Letterman Army Institute of Research in San Francisco. 

Plopper is known for his research on respiratory diseases with a special emphasis on asthma and other airway disorders as influenced by environmental oxidant pollutants. His studies have contributed greatly to the understanding of environmental pollutants as agents for triggering disorders of both the cardiovascular and respiratory systems as well as diseases such as cancer.  At the national level, his efforts have contributed to federal guidelines on limits of tolerance for environmental contaminants as well as regional, state and national strategies to reduce environmental pollution.

“We are excited to welcome Dr. Plopper to West Virginia to share his expertise during our Research Day events,” said John E. Prescott, M.D., dean of the WVU School of Medicine. “The physicians, scientists, faculty and students at the Health Science Center are committed to finding new, innovative ways to prevent and treat respiratory diseases. We look forward to learning more about Dr. Plopper’s research.”

Plopper’s talk is one of the highlights of two days of research-related events at WVU. On Thursday, April 27, student researchers who participate in WVU’s E.J. Van Liere Convocation will give oral presentations on their research projects at 9 a.m. in the HSC’s Hostler Auditorium.

Plopper will participate in a number of informal conferences with various WVU research faculty both Thursday and Friday. From 8-11 a.m. on Friday, he will be at the Erickson Alumni Center for a breakfast/brunch, where the student and faculty researchers will present their work in a poster session.

Dr. Saba says the research events will enrich WVU’s newly-formed Center for Respiratory Biology and Lung Diseases, one of the six focused multidisciplinary groups created as part of the University’s strategic research plan for health sciences. Scientists across the campus – and research partners in the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health – are working together to develop new areas of research related to respiratory diseases. “Morgantown is well on its way to becoming the leading place for this sort of research, and cooperation among health researchers, bioscientists, and engineers on the WVU faculty is crucial to our success. Many of these researchers will have the opportunity to meet with our distinguished visiting lecturer during his time at WVU.”

- WVU -

For more information:
Bill Case, HSC News Service, (304) 293-7087

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