Metabolomic evaluation of the impact of air pollutants on human alveolar A549 cell line

Medical Sciences, Natural Sciences
15 Sep, 2020 to 15 Jun, 2021
1 Mar, 2020

General information

6 months

Metabolomics is the omics science that studies the composition and behaviour of small molecules under different conditions. In the omics scale of knowledge, the cell metabolome is very dynamic since the amounts of specific metabolites reflect the effects of different conditions on the transcriptome and the proteome of cells. In environmental sciences, different organisms and cell models are used to evaluate the impact of environmental stressors on wildlife and human health. In the present project, a three-dimensional (3D) cell culture model of the human alveolar A549 cell line will be developed to assess the effects of air pollutants on human pulmonary health. Exposed and unexposed 3D cell cultures to contaminants will be subjected to untargeted metabolomic and lipidomic analysis by means of different chemometric methodologies applied to liquid chromatography coupled to high-resolution mass spectrometry (LC-HRMS) data. In addition, cellular biology assays will be performed to evaluate the phenotypic effects of the air pollutants on viability and oxidative stress of cultured cells, as well as the potential development of malignant behaviour.

Main tasks associated with the internship are:

  • To carry out the experimental work related to the i) cell culture and its exposure to selected air pollutants; ii) instrumental metabolomics analysis using high-throughput liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry equipment available at the host institution.
  • To perform the data analysis of the previously generated experimental data using standard metabolomics tools.

The research will be carried out at the Institute of Environmental Assessment and Water Research (IDAEA) of the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) within the “Chemometrics” research group. IDÆA is a Severo Ochoa centre of research excellence in Environmental Science devoted to the study of the footprint of the chemical changes our species is imposing on the biosphere.The Institute is primarily focussed on two of the great environmental challenges of our time, namely the cleanliness and availability of the water we drink and the quality of the air we breathe.Chemometrics group focuses its research on the development and application of chemometric (data analysis) tools for the study of problems of environmental interest, such as the study of metabolomic effects of environmental stressors on target organisms or the evaluation of environmental data coming from monitoring campaigns.


No financial compensation
Years of Experience required: 


metabolomics  cell culture  air pollution  data analysis  

Additional Information

The period of the internship may be flexible.
English: Independent User B2
Spanish: Independent User B1
Level of Studies: