Petra Haberzettl Lab - Air Pollution and Cardiovascular / Cardiometabolic Disorders

Pollution effect chartOur laboratory is part of the Institute of Molecular Cardiology and the Diabetes and Obesity Center in the School of Medicine at the University of Louisville.

We are located at the Health Sciences Center in Downtown Louisville (Delia Baxter Biomedical Research Building II, 580 South Preston Street, Louisville, KY 40202; see map).

Research Focus

Exposure to ambient air pollution is one of the leading causes of death world-wide and has been associated with increases in the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) and type 2 diabetes (T2D). Nevertheless, the pathophysiology underlying these health effects remains elusive.

Our recent research showed that in mice exposure to air pollution, particularly to fine particulate matter (PM2.5) induces vascular inflammation, impairs vascular signaling in response to VEGF and insulin, interferes with the mobilization of endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs), and exacerbates the metabolic effects of diet-induced obesity.

Our ongoing research aims to determine:

  • How air pollution exposure induces inflammation and insulin resistance in the blood vessels.
  • How air pollution exposure and diet-induced obesity affect EPC homeostasis and function.
  • How these vascular effects contribute to the development and progression of T2D and CVD.
  • How susceptible states such as diet-induced obesity or circadian dyssynchrony predispose to the toxicity of air pollution.


We aim to improve public health by understanding how exposure to polluted air induces vascular and cardiometabolic injury in healthy and susceptible individuals.