William Vizuete

  • January 1, 1970 • 12 AM
  • Rodin Auditorium, Green Hall

March 11, 2020
1:30 – 3:30pm
Rodin Auditorium, Green Hall

William Vizuete, Associate Professor
Dept. of Environmental Sciences & Engineering
University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill
Host: Dr. Martin



The cause of 3.7-4.8 million premature deaths worldwide are exposures to particulate matter (PM). In my work I am trying to mitigate this global public health issue through novel engineering solutions focused on providing a better understanding of how atmospheric chemistry influences the formation processes of PM and its toxicity to humans. In this talk I will discuss my latest efforts in creating new air quality models (AQMs) that have incorporated aerosol phase state and its influence on PM formation chemistry. These new developments have been implemented in an EPA approved regulatory AQM predicting phase state and its influence on PM concentrations across the United States. I will also discuss my results from a novel in vitro technology developed by my research group designed to quantify toxicity of exposures to PM by mimicking human inhalation. Results show that when emissions of pollutants undergo atmospheric chemistry, they have a 5-10 fold increase in cytotoxicity as indicated by measured lactate dehydrogenase. Our findings show that secondary pollutants are a critical contributor, suggesting that atmospheric chemistry is a source of toxicity. This is significant given that atmospheric oxidation is often missing from toxicological studies, meaning that the atmospheric source of toxicity is absent from many of these results. I will also discuss my most recent efforts using the in vitro technology to better understand the health impacts of nanoparticles, PM with less than 0.1 m in diameter. The development of all these engineering solutions will provide new insights on the importance of atmospheric chemistry in PM exposures and ultimately public health.


Dr. Vizuete is an associate professor in the Environmental Sciences and Engineering department in the Gillings School of Public Health. In his research Dr. Vizuete seeks novel environmental engineering solutions to solve public health problems associated with air quality. He did his graduate work at the University of Texas – Austin and his undergraduate degree is from Missouri Science & Technology. Dr. Vizuete spent a decade growing up in St. Louis and is still an avid Cardinals baseball fan. For fun he plays bass in a Ska/Reggae band and does a monthly music radio show focused on Jazz and Jamaican music on 89.3 FM WXYC (https://jazzincognitoshow.blogspot.com).