emma media
PhD candidate Emma Biesada preparing media to grow coronavirus.
Eddie in Lab
Visiting scholar Eddie Fuques Villalba grows a new Coronavirus stock for aerosol experiments.
Sara in lab
Research faculty Sara Beck counts live virus recovered from aerosols.
Odessa and Brady
Research faculty testing aerosol cytometers with airborne fungi.
Odessa in lab
Research faculty Odessa Mason Gomez operates a full scale bioaerosol chamber for disinfection studies.
Infected cells
Normal DBT cells (left) and DBT cells infected with Coronavirus (right) showing the cytopathic effect of cells fusing as they begin to produce virus, forming multinucleated syncytia.
marina in lab
PhD Candidate Marina Nieto Caballero aerosolizes live virus in a full scale chamber.
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
Odessa in lab
Researcher Dr. Odessa Gomez collects live airborne virus with next-generation condensation capture.
Marina in lab
PhD candidate 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.
Blaire and Alise at bus station
Annual sampling day for Metasub Urban Biome Microbiology project
Sylvia surface samping
Undergraduate student Sylvia Akol samples high contact surfaces in Denver hotels.
Odessa Gomez sets up CO2 monitors to evaluate ventilation and mixing in classrooms.
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

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 (Denver Children's Hospital, Clorox, Carrier, Aerosol Devices, and Detection Tek) approached the Hernandez lab to support CoVID characterization studies. We also have a RAPID grant from the National Science Foundation with support from the National Institutes of Health pending. 

  • 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. 

Aerobiology Lab CU Boulder
Broadening Participation

Dr. Hernandez has focused graduate and undergraduate recruiting efforts on disabled students and those from socioeconomic groups that have been traditionally underrepresented in engineering education. Learn more about his work to broaden participation in Engineering Education. 

Learn More

Research Interests

  • Toxicology, biochemistry and disinfection of aerosols
  • Characterization and control of Fomites

  • Acidogenic microbes in wastewater and petroleum transport systems
  • Antimicrobial cements and steel alloys

  • Upcycling industrial by-products: heavy metals and slags
  • Enhancing energy recovery from anaerobic digestion
  • Next generation deicing fluids
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 logos