Academy of Finland  
Funding decision
Organisation University of Helsinki
Project title A Molecular View on the Health Hazards of Ultrafine Particulate Matter
Applicant / Contact person Javanainen, Matti
Decision No. 338160
Decision date 03.06.2021
Funding period 01.09.2021 - 31.08.2024
Funding 240 610
Project description
Aerosol pollution is an acute and global health hazard, leading to millions of premature deaths annually. Still, the nanosized ultrafine particulate matter (UFPM) has flown under the radar until recently, when its abundance in urban environments was realized. UFPM can penetrate deep into the lungs and cause breathing problems. Moreover, by crossing the air–blood barrier to circulation, it can be transported to different tissues such as hearth and brain, where it leads to numerous diseases. In this project, we combine computer simulations and experiments to study how soot particles generated in traffic and power plants adsorb to the pulmonary surfactant, compromise its mechanical functioning, and penetrate it on their way towards the circulation. Our findings will add to the growing body of evidence on the health risks of urban pollution, which will guide the development of better engines and fuels, and eventually promote a transition to technologies that no longer rely on fossil fuels.