As California roars into what is predicted to be among the worst fire seasons yet, concerns about the short- and long-term health impacts of smoke exposure abound. Stanford’s Sean N. Parker Center for Allergy & Asthma Research has just received $10.5 million of funding from the NIH National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute for research over the next five years to dig into this question – assessing how, on a molecular level, wildfire smoke and other forms of air pollution affect health. 

“We are thrilled to be able to investigate one of California’s most pressing planetary health challenges – and use our findings to advocate for large-scale change and protect vulnerable communities,” says Dr. Kari Nadeau, Naddisy Family Foundation Professor of Allergy and the Director of the Sean N. Parker Center.

Recently, the Sean N. Parker Center’s researchers have documented how exposure to wildfire smoke can cause genetic changes that reduce immune system function and put individuals – including youth – at risk for cardiovascular disease. They have also investigated what repeated smoke exposure means for firefighters, particularly in terms of lung cancer and cardiovascular disease. With this new funding, researchers such as Dr. Joe Wu, Dr. Mary Prunicki, and Dr. Mike Snyder plan to uncover more such findings – and use them to call for protective health interventions and environmental measures, with a focus on safeguarding marginalized and under-resourced populations.

This grant adds to a growing body of research at Stanford on human and planetary health. More information on the Sean N. Parker Center’s work can be found here. For more information on a new evidence-to-action project to protect kids from wildfire smoke, launched in collaboration with the Stanford Center for Innovation in Global Health’s Action Lab for Planetary Health, please visit this page.


Last modified Tue, 17 Aug, 2021 at 11:26