Alex P. Carll, Ph.D., M.S.P.H.

Alex P. Carll, Ph.D., M.S.P.H.

Alex Carll header

Assistant Professor

Assistant Professor (Term)
University of North Carolina, 2012

 Air pollution exposure is linked to adverse cardiac outcomes, including heart failure exacerbation and sudden cardiac arrest. The Carll laboratory studies the biological mechanisms by which air pollutants weaken the heart, impair cardiac conduction, and compromise hemodynamics, and whether such effects occur through the autonomic nervous system. Dr. Carll’s recent findings suggest that exposure to suspended particulate matter (PM) at near-ambient levels promotes concomitant arrhythmia, autonomic imbalance, blunted baroreflexes, and respiratory dysfunction. The Carll lab applies healthy, diseased, and genetic rodent models to inhalation exposure studies to investigate the biological plausibility and elucidate the mechanisms of air pollutant-induced cardiac mortality and morbidity.

 Dr. Carll’s team assesses rodent and human hearts for adverse changes in electrical activity, mechanical performance, and neural regulation following exposure to multiple pollutants, including PM from highways, office printers, and ambient urban airsheds, as wells as diesel exhaust, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), mainstream cigarette smoke, and electronic cigarette aerosols.  The Carll lab also conducts basic biochemical and molecular toxicologic assays while analyzing physiologic signals, including the electrocardiogram (ECG), arterial and left ventricular pressure waveforms, and echocardiogram.  Currently we are investigating in both rodents and humans several emerging questions in environmental health sciences, including:

  1. What are the neural and cellular pathways underlying pollutant-induced myocardial dysfunction and remodeling?
  2. How do e-cigarette and office printer aerosols adversely affect cardiac function, intracellular signaling, and neuroregulation?
  3. How do VOCs contribute to the cardiac risks of exposure to pollutant aerosols?


Post-Doc, 2013-2015, Harvard University, T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Molecular and Integrative Physiological Sciences.

Ph.D. 2012, University of North Carolina (UNC)-Chapel Hill, Gillings School of Global Public Health, Environmental Health Sciences.

M.S.P.H. 2008, UNC-Chapel Hill, School of Public Health, Environmental Sciences & Engineering.

A.B. 2004, Duke University, Environmental Science & Policy

Prior Training

Pre-doctoral Fellow, 2006-2012, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, National Health and Environmental Effects Research Laboratory, Cardiopulmonary and Immunotoxicology Branch.

Post-doctoral Research Fellow, 2013-2015, Harvard School of Public Health, Dept. of Environmental Health, Program in Molecular and Integrative Physiological Sciences


  1. Carll AP, Crespo SM, Zati DH, Filho MS, Zati DH, Coull BA, Diaz EA, Raimundo RD, Jaeger TNG, Ricci-Vitor AL, Papapostolou V, Lawrence JE, Garner DM, Perry BS, Harkema JR, Godleski JJ 2017.  Inhaled ambient-level traffic-derived particulates decrease cardiac vagal influence and baroreflexes and increase arrhythmia in a rat model of metabolic syndrome.  Particle & Fibre Toxicology. 14(1):16.
  2. Carll AP, Farraj AK, and Roberts AM, (2018), The Role of the Autonomic Nervous System in Cardiovascular Toxicity. In: McQueen, C.A. (ed.), Comprehensive Toxicology, 3e, Vol. 13, Oxford: Elsevier Ltd. (In press). 
  3. Carll AP, Haykal-Coates N, Winsett DW, Hazari MS, Ledbetter AD, Richards JH, Cascio WE, Costa DL, Farraj AK (2015). Cardiomyopathy confers susceptibility to particulate matter-induced oxidative stress, vagal dominance, arrhythmia, and pulmonary inflammation in heart failure-prone rats. Inhalation Toxicology 27(2):100-12.
  4. Carll AP, Lust RM, Hazari MS, Perez CM, Krantz QT, King C, Winsett DW, Cascio WE, Costa DL, Farraj AK (2013). An Autonomic Link between Inhaled Diesel Exhaust and Impaired Cardiac Performance: Insight from Treadmill and Dobutamine Challenges in Heart Failure-Prone Rats. Toxicological Sciences. 135(2):425-36.
  5. Carll AP, Lust RM, Hazari MS, Perez CM, Krantz QT, King C, Winsett DW, Cascio WE, Costa DL, Farraj AK (2013). Diesel Exhaust Inhalation Increases Cardiac Output, Bradyarrhythmias, and Parasympathetic Tone in Aged Heart Failure-Prone Rats. Toxicological Sciences. 31(2):583-95.
  6. Carll AP, Hazari MS, Perez CM, Krantz QT, King C, Winsett DW, Costa DL, Farraj AK (2012). Whole and Particle-Free Diesel Exhausts Differentially Affect Cardiac Electrophysiology, Blood pressure, and Autonomic Balance in Heart Failure-Prone Rats. Toxicological Sciences. 128(2):490-9. 
  7. Carll AP, Haykal-Coates N, Winsett DW, Hazari MS, Nyska A, Richards JH, Willis MS, Costa DL, Farraj AK (2011). Dietary salt exacerbates isoproterenol-induced cardiomyopathy in rats. Toxicologic Pathology.39(6):925-37.
  8. Carll AP (review), Willis MS, Lust RM, Costa DL, Farraj AK (2011). Merits of Non-Invasive Rat Models of Left Ventricular Heart Failure. Cardiovascular Toxicology. 11(2):91-112.
  9. Carll AP, Haykal-Coates N, Winsett DW, Rowan WH 3rd, Hazari MS, Ledbetter AD, Nyska A, Cascio WE, Watkinson WP, Costa DL, Farraj AK (2010). Particulate matter inhalation exacerbates cardiopulmonary injury in a rat model of isoproterenol-induced cardiomyopathy. Inhalation Toxicology. 22(5):355-68.

Additional Publications

  1. Perez CM, Hazari MS, Ledbetter AD, Haykal-Coates N, Carll AP, Cascio WE, Winsett DW, Costa DL, Farraj AK (2015).  Acrolein inhalation alters arterial blood gases and triggers carotid body-mediated cardiovascular responses in hypertensive rats. Inhalation Toxicology. 27(1):54-63
  2. Perez CM, Ledbetter AD, Hazari MS, Haykal-Coates N, Carll AP, Winsett DW, Costa DL, Farraj AK.Hypoxia Stress Test Reveals Exaggerated Cardiovascular Effects in Hypertensive Rats after Exposure to the Air Pollutant Acrolein (2013). Toxicological Sciences. 132(2):467-77.
  3. Farraj AK, Hazari MS, Winsett DW, Kulukulualani A, Carll AP, Haykal-Coates N, Lamb CM, Lappi E, Terrell D, Cascio WE, Costa DL (2012). Overt and Latent Cardiac Effects of Ozone Inhalation in Rats: Evidence for Autonomic Modulation and Increased Myocardial Vulnerability. Environmental Health Perspectives. 120(3):348-54.
  4. Lamb CM, Hazari MS, Haykal-Coates N, Carll AP, Krantz QT, King C, Winsett DW, Cascio WE, Costa DL, Farraj AK (2012). Divergent Electrocardiographic Responses to Whole and Particle-Free Diesel Exhaust Inhalation in Spontaneously Hypertensive Rats. Toxicological Sciences. 125(2):558-68.
  5. Farraj AK, Hazari MS, Haykal-Coates N, Lamb C, Winsett DW, Ge Y, Ledbetter AD, Carll AP, Bruno M, Ghio A, Costa DL (2011). ST Depression, Arrhythmia, Vagal Dominance, and Reduced Cardiac MicroRNA in Particulate-exposed Rats. American Journal of Respiratory Cell and Molecular Biology 44(2):185-96.
  6. Farraj AK, Haykal-Coates N, Winsett DW, Hazari MS, Carll AP, Rowan WH, Ledbetter AD, Cascio WE, Costa DL (2009). Increased non-conducted P-wave arrhythmias after a single oil fly ash inhalation exposure in hypertensive rats. Environmental Health Perspectives. 117(5):709–715.
  7. LaGier AJ, Manzo ND, Carll AP, Jaskot RH, Slade R, Richards JH, Winsett DW, Farraj AK, Dye JA (2008). A hyperlipidemic rabbit model provides new insights into pulmonary zinc exposure effects on cardiovascular health. Cardiovascular Toxicology. 8(4):195-206.


Lab Members

Lab MemberKyle Fulghum, MS— Research Technologist II. Kyle received his Bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry from Evangel University and his Master’s degree in Cell and Molecular Biology from Missouri State University.



Lab MemberClaudia Arab, MS (Visiting Scholar)—PhD Student in Cardiovascular Medicine the Federal University of Sao Paulo. She received her degree in physical education with a specialization in exercise physiology from UDESC, Brazil. She then obtained a Master’s degree in Human Movement Science from UDESC, Brazil. Her research interests include heart rate variability, breast cancer, and exercise.


 Lab MemberRenata Salatini, PT (Visiting Scholar)— PhD Student in Medicine and Surgery at the University of Sao Paulo. She received her degree in physical therapy with a sports specialization from UNESP, Brazil. Her research interests include cardiovascular adaptations and heart rate variability.