Professor Mark Hernandez and doctoral graduate Marina Nieto-Caballero stand inside the 10-cubic-meters bioaerosol chamber used to study live airborne coronavirus persistence in the Environmental Engineering disinfection laboratory at the Sustainability, Energy and Environment Complex (SEEC).

Three years in: What we’ve learned about COVID

March 8, 2023

Three years ago this week, Colorado recorded its first known cases of COVID-19. A week later, on March 12, CU Boulder announced its first positive case and quickly shifted to fully remote classes. Meanwhile, researchers at CU and universities across the country jumped into action to learn everything they could...

Lab equipment blue light.

Tend to get sick when the air is dry? New research helps explain why

Feb. 23, 2023

Recent research from CU Boulder may have finally revealed why humans tend to get sick from airborne viral diseases more often in drier environments. Published in December in PNAS-Nexus , the study found that airborne particles carrying a mammalian coronavirus closely related to the virus which causes COVID-19 remain infectious...

Marina Nieto-Caballero conducting research.

Unique bioaerosol lab, dedicated students made COVID research possible

Feb. 23, 2023

As one of the first interdisciplinary bioaerosol labs established in the U.S., the Environmental Engineering Microbiology and Disinfection Lab at CU Boulder is home to one of the biggest bioaerosol chambers in the country at an academic institution. At about 350 cubic feet (10 cubic meters), it provides a large...

Shelby Buckley

Environmental engineering on an icebreaker ship at the North Pole

Jan. 31, 2023

Shelby Buckley has made the research trip of a lifetime – studying the impacts of climate change up close and personal on a five-week trip to the Arctic aboard the Kronprins Haakon icebreaking ship. It offered a unique chance to...

Joe Ryan

Denver7: How oil and gas drilling might affect your drinking water

Jan. 30, 2023

Joe Ryan's research into leaking oil and gas wells is being spotlighted in Denver and nationally. Denver 7 ABC TV interviewed Ryan for a feature on research into groundwater risks from abandoned and gas wells. The station also syndicated the story to stations across the country. Ryan, a professor in...

Drawing of a vertical oil and gas well.

Compromised oil and gas wells pose risks to groundwater in Weld County

Jan. 2, 2023

When gas leaks into and contaminates a household water well near an oil and gas drilling site, there is always a question of where it came from. Is it from a failure in the drilling or was the gas migrating naturally? New research in the...

Homes that survived the Marshall Fire didn’t come through unscathed.

Homes that survived the Marshall Fire harbored another disaster inside – here’s what we’ve learned about this insidious urban wildfire risk

Jan. 2, 2023

On Dec. 30, 2021, one of the most destructive wildfires on record in Colorado swept through neighborhoods just a few miles from the University of Colorado Boulder. The flames destroyed over 1,000 buildings, yet some houses were still completely intact right next to homes where nothing was left to burn...

A map depicting the locations of the surface water samples collected from the Coal Creek waterway shortly after the Marshall Fire.

Ongoing CU research explores impacts, solutions after Marshall Fire

Jan. 2, 2023

On Dec. 30, 2021, a quick-moving, grass-fueled wildfire in suburban Boulder County became the costliest wildfire in Colorado history. It burned 6,000 acres, destroyed more than 1,000 homes and damaged thousands of others. Hundreds of CU Boulder students, faculty and staff were among the thousands who fled parts of unincorporated...

UV light

Destroying Coronavirus vs. Creating Indoor Smog

Dec. 16, 2022

Put people in poorly ventilated rooms, where coronavirus-containing aerosols are trapped in the air with nowhere to go, and their risk of getting COVID-19 skyrockets. Research has shown that you can decrease the risk by ventilating the room and filtering viruses from the air. Now, a new CIRES and CU...

A powerful green laser helps visualize the aerosol plumes from a toilet when it’s being flushed.

CU Boulder scientists shine a light on what comes up when you flush

Dec. 8, 2022

Thanks to new CU Boulder research, scientists see the impact of flushing the toilet in a whole new light—and now, the world can as well. Using bright green lasers and camera equipment, a team of CU Boulder engineers ran an experiment to reveal how tiny water droplets, invisible to the...