Project Page

Impact of Oil Spill to Human Lung Health: Next Generation Sequencing and Mouse Model Based Analyses

Implementing Organization

Tulane University School of Medicine


DWH Project Funding


Known Leveraged Funding


Funding Organization

Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative (GoMRI)

Funding Program

Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative GoMRI Grant Program


Project Category


Project Actions

Oil System Safety Research

Targeted Resources

Community and Human Health

Project Description

The project uses mouse models to test the in vivo effects of oil/dispersants regarding carcinogenesis. The general hypothesis is that upon respiratory exposure to oil/dispersant there will be a higher carcinogenic potential of lung tissue in the mice. The objectives are: to profile and confirm the existence of molecular signatures of carcinogenesis through RNA-seq analysis of the mouse model (the B6 mice) treated with instilled oil/dispersants; andto determine if respiratory exposure to oil/dispersants accelerates tumorigenesis in lung tumor bearing mice (the K-Ras mice). The proposed analyses will provide compelling evidence to validate the PI's group's recent findings on carcinogenic potential of oil and dispersants on the lung system. The project will clarify if there are indeed harmful effects of crude oil and dispersants to human lung health for those workers involved in the oil spill cleaning process and even for those working in the presence of crude oil fumes on a daily basis. The evidence provided, if positive, will serve as a solid foundation for new legislation protecting oil industry workers and will provide the rationale for developing/using safer oil dispersants with low carcinogenicity.


Yao-Zhong Liu
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