Marina in lab
Dr. Marina Nieto Caballero cultivates coronavirus on brain cell media.
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.
Metasub team
Aerobiology Scientist Emily Kraus with undergrad students Sam Bryan and Emily Stamos during annual sampling day for Metasub Urban Biome Microbiology project
Field team
Undergraduate student interns with CDPHE's Clean Air For Schools Project
Dr. 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.
Emily working in lab
Post Doc Emily Kraus performs genomic analysis of airborne microbes.
Mark and Marina in chamber
Dr. Hernandez and Dr. Nieto Caballero explain their work on relative humidity and longevity of airborne COVID-19
air quality dashboard
Elementary School Air Quality Dashboard from Clean Air for Schools Project
Senior scientist Dr. Tess Eidem prepares assays to detect airborne allergens
Undergraduate students Claire Darley and Jeronimo Palacios install classroom air quality monitors in Denver Public Schools
Nate and Darian
Undergraduate students Darian Payan & Nathaniel Ramirez create dashboards for air quality monitoring in Denver Public Schools classrooms.
Heather in hood
Dr. Heather Runberg performs liquid to liquid extraction of surfactants in aerosol samples.
Heather with rotisserie
Dr. Heather Runberg loads aerosol samples in rotisserie mixer.
Emily with chamber
Dr. Emily Kraus loads a bioaerosol collection sample for the large chamber.
Emily in hood
Dr. Emily Kraus alliquating Q PCR reagents for mycobacteria quantification.
Aerobiology & Disinfection Laboratory

Headshot Mark Hernandez is the S J Archuleta Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering; he directs the Aerobiology 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

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. We are a majority minority lab and everyone is welcome. 

Graduate Students - Out of a total of mentees, the pool of graduate students and post-doctoral fellows formally mentored by Dr. Hernandez as a primary advisor includes women, and underrepresented students .  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 50 students, the pool of undergraduates formally mentored as an internship advisor includes women, and underrepresented students.  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

All lab members

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