Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


College of Science and Mathematics



Thesis Sponsor/Dissertation Chair/Project Chair

Ann Marie DiLorenzo

Committee Member

Lee H. Lee

Committee Member

Kirsten Monsen


The World Trade Center Attack on September 11th, 2001 was the largest environmental attack that has ever happened in New York City. In the aftermath of the collapse of the twin towers, many first responders and rescue workers were exposed to the resulting clouds of dust. This toxic material has been shown to be responsible for membrane damage in human lung cells and can possibly become the cause of increased oxidative stress. The underlying factors that produce these findings are thought to the synergistic effects of the many components found within the market street sample. Complete analysis of the heavy metal found in this toxic material were determined by Paul Lioy of Rutgers University and his team of twenty plus scientists. Since Copper and Zinc, found in known quantity in the dust are together known to be antioxidants, studies were performed to determine changes in reactive oxygen species (ROS) identified under conditions of increases of these particular heavy metals. Most recently gastroesophageal related diseases have been seen in many first responders. Previously only diseases of the lungs were of great concern. Many first responders have developed Gastro-esophageal reflux disease (GERD) symptoms since 2005 and long-standing reflux symptoms that are not treated will lead to Barrett's esophagus and esophageal cancer. This study will compare human esophageal and lung cells and will try to determine if high concentration of zinc and copper can reduce or increase oxidative stress in vitro cells exposed to various concentrations of WTC dust.

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