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Your Environment. Your Health.

SRP Student Highlight: Oleksii Motorykin, Oregon State University

Superfund Research Program

Oleksii Motorykin

Oleksii Motorykin, a Superfund Research Program (SRP) trainee at Oregon State University (OSU), found for the first time that lung cancer deaths are linked to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) emissions that pollute the air, independent of cigarette smoke. As a result of his hard work and discoveries, Motorykin received two prestigious awards from the Division of Environmental Chemistry of the American Chemical Society (ACS) in 2013.


Motorykin received a 2013 Graduate Student Award in Environmental Chemistry. The ACS Division of Environmental Chemistry sponsors up to 25 annual awards to full-time graduate students based upon students’ records in course work, evidence of research productivity, and on statements from graduate faculty advisers.


He also won a 2013 Graduate Student Paper Award for an article about his findings that will soon appear in the journal Environmental Science and Technology. This is the highest award given by the ACS Division of Environmental Chemistry to its student members.


Motorykin investigated the relationship between lung cancer mortality rates, carcinogenic PAH emissions, and smoking on a global scale. He also assessed the contribution of carcinogenic PAH emissions to lung cancer mortality rates for countries with different socioeconomic groupings. He found a positive association between lung cancer deaths and PAH emissions, independent of smoking prevalence, for high income and for the combination of upper middle and high socioeconomic country groups. This study is the first to link PAH emissions with lung cancer on a global scale and shows the need to take air pollution into account when assessing lung cancer risks.


Motorykin is a graduate student with Staci Simonich, Ph.D., who leads an OSU SRP project to understand the composition, exposure, and mutagenicity of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in highly exposed populations.

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