Graduation Year

January 2013

Graduation Month


Document Type

Thesis - Campus Access Only

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science

School or Department

Biomedical and Pharmaceutical Sciences

Faculty Mentor

Andrij Holian

Faculty Mentor Department

Biomedical and Pharmaceutical Sciences

Faculty Reader(s)

Tony Ward


inflammasome complex, particulate matter, IL-1B, NF-kB, global climate change, Sand dust

Subject Categories

Pharmacology, Toxicology and Environmental Health


Much of the American Southwest comprises of desert, where about 12 million people live. Population increase and global climate change will cause drastic changes over the next 20 years, expanding the desert, causing larger, more frequent, and more severe sand dust storms. Airborne particulate matter is known to have health consequences within the respiratory system. Black Rock Desert in Nevada is known to have large dust storms. Each year 50,000 people gather together for one week in this desert for an event called Burning Man. It takes place on the playa and frequent dust-storm makes it an excellent environment for studying their negative health impacts. An in vitro model would provide useful information of the type and severity of inflammatory response induced by the inhalation of SW sand dust particles. In such a model it is important to characterize the potential exposure risk of these particles, sand dust components and the type and severity of inflammatory response induced when exposed to cells. Using THP-1 cells, in this study it becomes evident that sand dust particles of the Black Rock Desert strongly activate the NF-κB inflammation pathway and weakly activate the inflammasome complex.

Honors College Research Project




© Copyright 2013 Cassandra Moog