Scott Boitano, PhD, and his lab focus on chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD. Lung disease is expanding worldwide, and is one of the top uncontrolled American epidemics. It leaves about 900,000 Americans too ill to work, costing billions in medical care and lost productivity. Most of the disease is linked to smoking and to environmental and occupational conditions. Dr. Boitano’s main focus is the affect of arsenic on the lung’s epithelial cells. The interactions between arsenic and the body’s tissues affect lives not just in Chile, Mexico, or Bangladesh – where arsenic in drinking water can reach very dangerous levels of up to 500 or even 1,000 ppb—but everywhere. Dr. Boitano is studying the long-term risks found in many American cities and towns where arsenic values are between 50 and 10 ppb, and where there are strong changes in how cells signal each other and repair wounds.