Alex Carll

Research Fellow

Department of Environmental Health

Air pollution exposure is linked to adverse cardiac outcomes, including heart failure exacerbation and sudden cardiac arrest.  In Dr. John Godleski’s inhalation toxicology laboratory, Dr. Carll studies the biological mechanisms by which air pollutants weaken and stiffen the heart, impair cardiac conduction, and compromise hemodynamics.  He is particularly interested in whether dysregulation of the autonomic nervous system mediates the cardiovascular toxicity of air pollutants.  He also applies stress tests to determine how air pollutants enhance cardiovascular susceptibility to physiological stressors.  His recent studies have found near-ambient PM exposure promotes hypertension and concomitant arrhythmia, autonomic imbalance, blunted baroreflexes, and respiratory dysfunction.  As well, Dr. Carll has researched several rodent models of cardiovascular disease (chiefly cardiomyopathy and metabolic syndrome), with which he has affirmed epidemiologic observations that diseased individuals are particularly sensitive to air pollutant exposure’s adverse cardiovascular effects.

Dr. Carll has found that acute diesel exhaust (DE) inhalation impairs left ventricular filling and ejection in rats, with likely mediation by autonomic neural imbalance.  His most recent studies indicate that sub-chronic exposure to traffic-related particulate matter (PM) recapitulates these effects.  He is currently investigating whether specific cell signaling cascades mediate pollutant-induced myocardial remodeling.

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.

Honors and Awards
-Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health Postdoctoral Travel Award, 2015
-American Thoracic Society Abstract Award,  Assembly on Environmental, Occupational, and Population Health (EOPH), 2015
-Paper of the Year in Cardiovascular Toxicology Section, 2014 Society of Toxicology (SOT) Meeting for Carll et al., Toxicological Sciences 135(2) 425-36
-Paper of the Year in Inhalation & Respiratory Toxicology Section, 2013 SOT Meeting for Carll et al., Toxicological Sciences 131(2) 583-95
-Elected member of Delta Omega, Public Health Honor Society, Theta Chapter, 2013
-Mary O. Amdur Award for Inhalation Toxicology, 2012 SOT Meeting
-Graduate Student Travel Award, 2012 SOT Meeting
-U.S. EPA Scientific and Technological Achievement Award, Honorable Mention, 2012
-1st Place Graduate Student Poster, Research Triangle Visiting Pulmonary Scholar Seminar 2011
-Graduate Student Travel Award, Cardiovascular Toxicology Section, 2011 SOT Meeting
-Cooperative Fellowship in Environmental Health Sciences, U.S. EPA and UNC Chapel Hill  2006-2012
-Stanback Internship, Duke University Nicholas School of the Environment / Appalachian Voices  2003

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.

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.

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.

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. 

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.

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.

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:
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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.