Burning question takes big step closer to answers

Alejandro Comellas Freymond, MD, clinical associate professor in the Division of Pulmonary, Critical Care and Occupational Medicine, and Emma Stapleton, PhD, a public health postdoctoral research fellow in the Department of Occupational and Environmental Health and a member of Comellas’s lab, spent a week in Tamil Nadu, India, preparing to research the effects of indoor biomass fires on the lungs of women. Comellas and Stapleton are collaborating with Periyar Maniammai Institute of Science and Technology, one of the most advanced and progressive universities in Thanjavur, India, to run test experiments.

“Indoor cooking is a huge source of air pollution worldwide. In India, it’s especially problematic. More than half the people use solid biofuels,” Stapleton said. “These particles increase your risk of developing pneumonia and acute lower respiratory tract infections.”

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