Chemistry and Toxicology of Atmospheric Emissions Team (CTEA)

Research activity

Our research focuses on assessing exposure levels to gaseous and particulate air pollutants in suspension in the air (PM10, PM2.5, ultrafine) and studying their toxic effects in humans, particularly in the respiratory system.

The development of this theme is based on strategies for sampling particles suspended in outdoor air, their physicochemical characterisation and the evaluation of their toxicity using experimental models (in vitro, ex vivo, in vivo) or carried out in humans. The aim is to examine the underlying physiopathological mechanisms frequently suspected of being involved in the development of respiratory pathologies, and to propose biomarkers of exposure or the effect of atmospheric pollution.

Our approach is based on two main orientations:

Physicochemistry of suspended particles (PM10, PM2.5, ultrafine) and identification of sources

Particulate sampling is carried out in urban or rural areas, subject to various natural or anthropogenic influences such as road traffic, industrial activities or marine emissions. The aim of examining the chemical characteristics of particles (ionic species, major elements and metallic traces, organic compounds) is to identify and/or propose source tracers to enable the origin of particles to be determined. Source-receptor models are used to identify sources and assess their contributions to PM concentration in the atmosphere.

Mechanisms of toxic action of air pollutants

Based on experimental toxicology, we are helping to improve knowledge of changes in cellular homeostasis induced by exposure to environmental pollutants by characterizing oxidant stress parameters, inflammatory response, metabolic activation, genotoxicity and epigenetic alterations. The evaluation of these toxic effects is carried out in-vitro on pulmonary and blood cell line models (A 459, BEAS-2B, THP-1) in mono and/or co-culture but also on primary cells (alveolar macrophages, lymphocytes, blood monocytes) in order to better integrate the cellular diversity of the respiratory tract. The study of these mechanisms of toxic action, using molecular, cellular and metabolomic biology methods, makes it possible to propose new biological markers of exposure or effect potentially involved in the effects of environmental pollutants on human health.

Team members

COURCOT DominiquePr
FERTE AmélieContractual EI
LEDOUX FrédéricPr

Scientific collaborations

 Nationals :

  • Laboratoire de Météorologie Physique (LaMP) UMR 6016 CNRS / UCA, Université Clermont Auvergne.
  • UMR 261 MERIT « Mère et enfant en milieu tropical : pathogènes,système de santé et transition épidémiologique », IRD – Université de Paris
  • Unité Aliment Bioprocédés Toxicologie Environnements, ABTE, EA 4651, Equipe « Toxicologie de l’Environnement : milieux aériens et cancers, ToxEMAC », Université de Caen Basse Normandie, Université de Rouen
  • Groupement des Hôpitaux de l’Institut Catholique de Lille, GHICL, Service de Pneumologie, Service de Médecine et Gériatrie
  • Laboratoire Impact de l’Environnement Chimique sur la Santé Humaine, Impecs, EA 4483, Université de Lille
  • Laboratoire Lésions des Acides Nucléiques, Service de Chimie Inorganique et Biologique, UMR E3 – CEA / Université Joseph Fourier, Grenoble
  • Institut de Recherches en Santé-Environnement-Travail – IRSET – UMR Inserm 1085, Faculté des Sciences pharmaceutiques et biologiques de Rennes, Université de Rennes
  • Institut National de l’Environnement Industriel et des Risques, INERIS, Verneuil en Halatte
  • Laboratoire Génie Civil et géoEnvironnement, LGCgE, EA 4515, groupe ISA de Lille
  • IMT Lille-Douai, Département Sciences de l’Atmosphère Génie de l’Environnement, SAGE.
  • Laboratoire de Santé Publique et Environnement, EA 4064 « Impacts sanitaires des pollutions », Université Paris Descartes

 Internationals :

  • Laboratoire Emissions, Measurements, and Modeling of the Atmosphere (EMMA), Faculty of Sciences, Saint Joseph University, Liban.
  • Departemento de Ingenierias Quimica y Biomolecular, Universidad de Cantabria, Santander, Espagne.
  • Faculté de Médecine, Université de Cagliari, Italie.
  • Bioactive Molecules Research Group, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Faculty of Sciences-2, Lebanese University, Liban.
  • Department of Biology, Faculty of Sciences, University of Balamand, Liban.
  • King’s College London, Environmental Research Group, Royaume-Uni.
  • Equipe  » Thermodynamique et Génie des Procédés Chimiques « , Département Chimie, Faculté Polytechnique de l’Université de Mons, Belgique.
  • Laboratoire de Toxicologie, Faculté de Médecine Pharmacologie Odontologie, Université Cheikh Anta Diop de Dakar, Sénégal.
  • Norwegian Institute of Public Health, Department of Chemical and Radiation, Norway
  • Italian National Agency for New Technologies, Energy and Sustainable Economic Development, Bologna, Italy
  • Shandong University, Environment Research Institute, China

current thesis




Salimata Thiam


Characterisation of indoor air pollution and study of its impact on the health of Senegalese populations
Yamina Allouche


Evaluation of the oxidising potential of fine particles PM2.5 according to their emission sources
Malak Chwaikani


Study of autophagy and senescence of human lung cells exposed to fine and ultrafine particles
Suen Boulé


In situ study of the effects of air pollution on lung epithelial cells exposed to an air-liquid interface
Eliane Farah


Characterisation of fine particles in Cairo (Egypt)
Camille Bonnefous


Microplastics and their compounds in air: study of toxicity and epithelial-mesenchymal transition on respiratory barriers
Marcos MIGAN


Exposure to air pollution in Cotonou (Benin) and the relationship with respiratory health in asthmatic children

Research agreement

  • 2022-2025 : CCHF/CUD project: “Study of indoor and outdoor air quality in maritime Flanders with a focus on endocrine disruptors”.
  • 2021-2024 : ANR project, A4A “Air quality and quality of life for asthmatic children in Africa”.
  • 2021-2023 : ANSES/ADEME project, AROMATOX ” Characterisation, understanding and modelling of the toxicity of BTEX mixtures “.
  • 2021-2023 : ANSES project, COPOBOIS “Innovative coupling for the evaluation of the effect on the respiratory tract of Poly-exposure to particulate and gaseous emissions from the mechanical transformation of Wood”.
  • 2020-2026 : Plan Investissement d’Avenir 3, TI-DEC ” Dunkerque, l’énergie créative “.
  • 2020-2022 : ADEME project, TOXTEM “Toxicity of atmospheric particles from rural, urban-industrial and port areas and impact on the epithelio-mesenchymal transition of lung cells”.
  • 2019-2023 : Coastal Health Space Project, PAPOU ” Study of the impregnation in phthalates of a population in urban-industrial areas “.
  • 2019-2021 : IRD / AUF / STDF / MISTRALS, POLCAIR Project ” Air pollution in Cairo: sources and impacts “.
  • 2019-2021 : MTE, EMMA Pole Project ” Multi-scale Mobile Atmospheric Experiment “.
  • 2018-2022 : BIONEUROMET Project “Environmental exposure to particulate matter-bound manganese and other metals: bioaccessibility, biomonitoring, and their association with the neurological function”, Spanish Research Agency, Project leader: Universidad de Cantabria, Santander, Spain.
  • 2016-2021 : Interreg V Project France Wallonia Flanders “DepollutAir: Culture supernatants and extracts of RNA, DNA and proteins from cells exposed to emissions from catalytic devices.
  • 2015-2020 : CPER Climibio project, “WP3: Impact of climate change and environmental dynamics on living organisms”.

Recent publications

  • LE GALL-LANOTTO C., VERDIN A., CAZIER F., BATAILLE-SAVATTIER A., GUERE C., DORR M., FLHURH J., COURCOT D., VIE K., MISERY L., Road‐traffic‐related air pollution contributes to skin barrier alteration and growth defect of sensory neurons. Experimental Dermatology, 2024, 33 (1), pp.e15009. ⟨10.1111/exd.15009⟩⟨hal-04411208⟩
  • EXPOSITO A., MARKIV B., SANTIBANEZ M., FERNANDEZ-OLMO I., FADEL M., LEDOUX F., COURCOT D., Ascorbate oxidation driven by PM2.5-bound metal(loid)s extracted in an acidic simulated lung fluid in relation to their bioaccessibility. Air Quality, Atmosphere & Health, 2023⟨10.1007/s11869-023-01436-8⟩⟨hal-04298689⟩
  • LANDKOCZ Y., Les effets des particules fines sur la transition épithélio-mésenchymateuse (TEM) dans les cellules pulmonaires : Toxicité des particules atmosphériques issues de zones rurale, urbano-industrielle et portuaire et impact sur la transition épithélio-mésenchymateuse des cellules pulmonaires. Les cahiers de la Recherche : Santé, Environnement, Travail, 2023, 21, pp.15-17. ⟨anses-04229870⟩
  • VUILLEMIN M., WATERLOT C., VERDIN A., LACLEF S., CEZARD C., LESUR D., SARAZIN C., COURCOT D., HADAD C., HUSSON E., VAN NHIEN A. N., Copper-uptake mediated by an ecofriendly zwitterionic ionic liquid: A new challenge for a cleaner bioeconomy. Journal of Environmental Sciences, 2023, 130, pp.92-101. ⟨10.1016/j.jes.2022.10.011⟩⟨hal-03959399⟩
  • LEDOUX F., ROCHE C., DELMAIRE G., ROUSSEL G., FAVEZ O., FADEL M., COURCOT D., Measurement report: A 1-year study to estimate maritime contributions to PM 10 in a coastal area in northern France. Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, 2023, 23 (15), pp.8607-8622. ⟨10.5194/acp-23-8607-2023⟩⟨hal-04179677⟩
  • FAKHRI N., FADEL M., OZTURK F., KELEş M., IAKOVIDES M., PIKRIDAS M., ABDALLAH C., KARAM C., SCIARE J., HAYES P., AFIF C. , Comprehensive chemical characterization of PM2.5 in the large East Mediterranean-Middle East city of Beirut, Lebanon. Journal of Environmental Sciences, 2023, 133, pp.118-137. ⟨10.1016/j.jes.2022.07.010⟩⟨hal-04138993⟩
  • FAKHRI N., FADEL M., PIKRIDAS M., SCIARE J., HAYES P., AFIF C., Source apportionment of PM2.5 using organic/inorganic markers and emission inventory evaluation in the East Mediterranean-Middle East city of Beirut. Environmental Research, 2023, 223, pp.115446. ⟨10.1016/j.envres.2023.115446⟩⟨hal-04139005⟩
  • DESPREAUX P., JEANTON C., DESAULLE D., AL ZALLOUHA M., VERDIN A., MOMAS I., ACHARD S., Innovative graph analysis method to assess gene expression modulation after fine particles exposures of 3D human airway epithelia. Environmental Research, 2023, 221, pp.115296. ⟨10.1016/j.envres.2023.115296⟩⟨hal-04387530⟩
  • CACHON F., CAZIER F., VERDIN A., DEWAELE D., GENEVRAY P., DELBENDE A., AYI-FANOU L., AISSI F., SANNI A., COURCOT D., Physicochemical Characterization of Air Pollution Particulate Matter (PM2.5 and PM>2.5) in an Urban Area of Cotonou, Benin. Atmosphere, 2023, 14 (2), pp.201. ⟨10.3390/atmos14020201⟩⟨hal-03953828⟩
  • FADEL M., COURCOT D., SEIGNEUR M., KFOURY A., OIKONOMOU K., SCIARE J., LEDOUX F., AFIF C. Identification and apportionment of local and long-range sources of PM2.5 in two East-Mediterranean sites. Atmospheric Pollution Research, 2023, 14 (1), pp.101622. ⟨10.1016/j.apr.2022.101622⟩⟨hal-03989767⟩
  • DANJOU P.-E., BILLET S., CAZIER-DENNIN F., BOUHSINA S.Large Interactive Touchscreens as an Opportunity for Synchronous Hybrid Teaching during the COVID-19 Pandemic and Beyond. Journal of Chemical Education, 2023, 100 (3), pp.1149-1154. ⟨10.1021/acs.jchemed.2c00833⟩⟨hal-03983386⟩
  • MOUFARREJ L., VERDIN A., CAZIER F., LEDOUX F., COURCOT D.,  Oxidative stress response in pulmonary cells exposed to different fractions of PM2.5-0.3 from urban, traffic and industrial sites. Environmental Research, 2023, 216 (Part 2), pp.114572. ⟨10.1016/j.envres.2022.114572⟩⟨hal-03821902⟩
  • FADEL M., LEDOUX F., SEIGNEUR M., OIKONOMOU K., SCIARE J., COURCOT D., AFIF C.Chemical profiles of PM2.5 emitted from various anthropogenic sources of the Eastern Mediterranean: Cooking, wood burning, and diesel generators. Environmental Research, 2022, 211, pp.113032. ⟨10.1016/j.envres.2022.113032⟩⟨hal-04138950⟩
  • DESPREAUX P., JEANTON C., DESAULLE D., AL ZALLOUHA M., VERDIN A., MOMAS I., ACHARD S. Impact of Fine Particles on a 3D Bronchial Healthy or Asthma Epithelium Model: Gene Expression Modulation Assessment Using an Innovative Graph Analysis on Pairwise Expression Ratio Method. SSRN Electronic Journal, 2022⟨10.2139/ssrn.4276545⟩⟨hal-04387554⟩
  • LEDOUX F., Les émissions issues de la transformation mécanique du bois : Couplage innovant pour l’évaluation de l’effet sur les voies respiratoires de la polyexposition aux émissions particulaires et gazeuses issues de la transformation mécanique du bois. Les cahiers de la Recherche : Santé, Environnement, Travail, 2022, La santé au travail, 19, pp.27-28. ⟨anses-03911601⟩
  • EL HOUDA RAOUANI N., CLAVERIE E., RANDOUX B., CHAVERIAT L., YASEEN Y., YADA B., MARTIN P., CABRERA J. C., JACQUES P., REIGNAULT P., MAGNIN-ROBERT M., LOUNES – HADJ SAHRAOUI A.Bio-Inspired Rhamnolipids, Cyclic Lipopeptides and a Chito-Oligosaccharide Confer Protection against Wheat Powdery Mildew and Inhibit Conidia Germination. Molecules, 2022, 27 (19), pp.6672. ⟨10.3390/molecules27196672⟩⟨hal-03806266⟩
  • FADEL M., LEDOUX F., AFIF C., COURCOT D., Human health risk assessment for PAHs, phthalates, elements, PCDD/Fs, and DL-PCBs in PM2.5 and for NMVOCs in two East-Mediterranean urban sites under industrial influence. Atmospheric Pollution Research, 2022, 13 (1), pp.101261. ⟨10.1016/j.apr.2021.101261⟩⟨hal-03656803⟩
  • EL KHAWAJA R., VEERAPANDIAN S. K. P., BITAR R., DE GEYTER N., MORENT R., HEYMANS N., DE WEIRELD G., BARAKAT T., DING Y., ABDALLAH G., SONAR S., LOFBERG A., GIRAUDON J.-M., POUPIN C., COUSIN R., CAZIER F., DEWAELE D., GENEVRAY P., LANDKOCZ Y., MEAUSOONE C., JABER N., COURCOT D., BILLET S., LAMONIER J.-F., SU B.-L., SIFFERT S. Boosting VOCs elimination by coupling different techniques. Chemical Synthesis, 2022, Chemical Synthesis, 22, pp.13. ⟨10.20517/cs.2022.10⟩⟨hal-03773338v2⟩
  • FADEL M., COURCOT D., AFIF C., LEDOUX F., Methods for the assessment of health risk induced by contaminants in atmospheric particulate matter: a review. Environmental Chemistry Letters, 2022, 20 (5), pp.3289-3311. ⟨10.1007/s10311-022-01461-6⟩⟨hal-04138969⟩
  • VUILLEMIN M., WATERLOT C., VERDIN A., LACLEF S., CEZARD C., LESUR D., SARAZIN C., HADAD C., HUSSON E., NGUYEN VAN NHIEN A., COURCOT D., Combining Phytoremediation and Biorefinery Strategies Assisted by an Ecofriendly Zwitterionic Ionic Liquid: A New Challenge for a Cleaner Bioeconomy. SSRN Electronic Journal, 2022⟨10.2139/ssrn.4130036⟩⟨hal-04387543⟩