emma media
PhD candidate Emma Biesada preparing media to grow coronavirus.
Sara in lab
Research faculty Sara Beck counts live virus recovered from aerosols.
Odessa in lab
Research faculty Odessa Mason Gomez operates a full scale bioaerosol chamber for disinfection studies.
Marina and Pete in lab
Post-doctoral fellow Mariana Lopes and Industry Collaborator Pete McKinney set up ventilation equipment that disinfects airborne virus.
Lab research team
CU Environmental Engineering Microbiology and Disinfection Lab Research Team
Marina in lab
PhD candidate Marina Nieto Caballero cultivates coronavirus on brain cell media.
Odessa
Research faculty Dr. Odessa Gomez prepares Impactors to determine size distribution of airborne Coronavirus.
Air quality dashboard
Practical instrumentation to monitor and mitigate what we breathe.
Blaire and Alise at bus station
Aerobiology Technician Blaire Volbers works with grad student Alise Gladbach during annual sampling day for Metasub Urban Biome Microbiology project
Sylvia surface samping
Undergraduate student Sylvia Akol samples high contact surfaces in Denver hotels.
Classroom
Odessa Gomez sets up CO2 monitors to evaluate ventilation and mixing in classrooms.
Nicollette in the lab
PhD candidate Nicollette Laroco with lab scale biogas experiments to utilize steel making residuals to remove biogas contaminantes such as H2S.
Emma chamber
PhD Candidate Emma Biesiada assesses disinfection damage with the lab's microscope facility.
emma chamber
PhD candidate Emma Biesiada in full scale UV disinfection chamber for studies of hospital equipment disinfection.
Emily working in lab
Post Doc Emily Kraus performs genomic analysis of airborne microbes.
Environmental Engineering Microbiology & Disinfection Laboratory

Headshot Mark Hernandez is the S J Archuleta Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering; he directs the Environmental Engineering Microbiology and Disinfection Lab at the University of Colorado.  This lab focuses on the characterization and control of microbiological air pollution and microbially induced corrosion.  The lab develops genetic, biochemical and toxicological techniques to assess the efficacy of engineering interventions in sectors of sanitary engineering and industrial hygiene that are relevant to environmental health.  There is special focus on aerobiology science for wide-area surveillance, indoor cleaning technology and the design of aerosol disinfection systems in the built environment.

Get a quick overview of our work here in Google Scholar.

Confronting COVID-19: Hernandez Lab School Ventilation Research

Halle and Ricardo in School

Aerobiology Lab CU Boulder
Coronavirus Research in Our Lab
  • ​​​The Hernandez lab is optimizing large-scale aerosol disinfection systems and commercial cleaning protocols in ways that help mitigate the persistence of Coronavirus in the built environment. 

  • With 25 years of research experience on the characterization and control of airborne microorganisms, the Hernandez lab has most recently been monitoring aerobiology in metropolitan mass transit systems around the world as well as in our local public schools. 

  • After the pandemic surfaced in Wuhan, hospitals and industrial partners (Aerosol Devices, Clorox, Carrier, Denver Children's Hospital, Detection Tek, Reckitt Benckiser, and Tito's Handmade Vodka) approached the Hernandez lab to support disinfection and CoVID characterization studies

  • We use classic methods for culturing mammalian viruses as well as emerging instrumentation from the Colorado tech sector to characterize the identity, distribution and infectious potential of indoor airborne microorganisms - notably including Coronavirus. 

Broadening Participation

Dr. Hernandez has focused graduate and undergraduate recruiting efforts on students who are disabled or from socioeconomic groups that have been traditionally underrepresented in engineering education.

Graduate Students - Out of a total of 31 mentees, the pool of graduate students and post-doctoral fellows formally mentored by Dr. Hernandez as a primary advisor includes women (67%), and underrepresented students (40%).  Of these, 6 are tenured engineering faculty at the following institutions: Yale, Cornell, Boston University, Ohio State, Jordan University of Science and Technology, Shanghai Pudong University.

Undergraduate Students- Out of a total of 42 students, the pool of undergraduates formally mentored as an internship advisor now includes women (78%), and underrepresented students (50%).  Of these, more than 60% have gone on to complete a STEM graduate degree.

Learn more about his work to broaden participation in engineering education. 

Learn More

Sponsors and Industrial Partners

The Environmental Engineering Microbiology & Disinfection Laboratory would like to thank the industrial partners and sponsors who have made the research possible:

industrial sponsors