Published: Oct. 3, 2019

Mark HernandezProfessor Mark Hernandez and Patricia Keady, CEO of Fort Collins-based Aerosol Devices, recently received a $898,347 grant from the National Science Foundation that will help them take the next step in their aerobiology research.  

The project, titled “Accurate Time-Resolved Characterization of Viable Airborne Microbes and their Genomes,” will translate lab-based prototypes into broader commercial access to a new generation of high-efficiency bioaerosol samplers that will be deployed in the industrial hygiene and indoor air quality markets. 

The new instruments capture and preserve airborne microbes in the same physical state they exist as they are suspended in the air we breathe, which represents a tremendous breakthrough for forensic bioaerosol analysis. The technology can be leveraged for characterizing and controlling airborne microbes in the military, health care, atmospheric research and indoor air quality sectors.

Hernandez said this is the last in a series of aerobiology grants that will translate fundamental work from the lab to the field. 

“We are really excited to continue this partnership with industrial thought leaders who are advancing bioaerosol exposure assessment,” Hernandez said. “Our CU lab has been integral to developing this new generation of instrumentation that immediately preserves microbes as they are collected from the atmospheric environment – indoors or out. This represents a tremendous breakthrough for characterizing airborne microbes as they exist in aerosols using genomics or classical microbiological approaches.” 

The National Science Foundation is an independent federal agency that supports basic research and people to create knowledge that transforms the future. The NSF has an annual budget of $8.1 billion to fund basic research conducted by America’s colleges and universities.