Of the main routes of exposure to environmental contaminants (dermal contact, ingestion, inhalation), inhalation is of the most concern to human health because we cannot control what we breathe as well as what we touch or eat. In fact, we are still discovering ways in which the inhalation of air pollutants (especially aerosols) affects health. We now know that air pollution kills 7 million people per year. Beyond that, we are curious about chronic, low-dose exposure levels  that may be linked to conditions that we are still discovering. For example, exposure to PM2.5 (particulate matter < 2.5 micrometers) has been recently tied to mental health issues, such as brain aging and anxiety

We are interested in using engineering concepts to characterize emissions of aerosols (small particle or droplets suspended in air) from everyday sources. These measurements can aid in developing tools and strategies to control emissions and minimize exposures, especially to vulnerable populations—such as children and the elderly, and incidentally exposed populations (i.e., bystanders of a certain activity). Applications of our research range from consumer safety and "safer by design" consumer products, to indoor and outdoor air pollution, soiling of photovoltaic panels and sustainability, air pollutant sensing, human health, and climate change.  

Our mission is to perform research that will lead to a positive impact in human health and the environment.

Main research topics:

  • Formation, transport, and fate of aerosols, ranging from ultrafine (<100 nm), fine (< 2.5 um), to coarse (2.5 - 10 um).
  • Assessing and minimizing people's exposure to environmental contaminants
  • Ambient and source aerosol sampling and characterization
  • Understanding the release of nanomaterials or aerosols from consumer products
  • Developing nanotechnology applications for environmental sustainability ​

Current and past projects:

Current projects:

  • HOMEChem: A collaborative indoor air chemistry field study (2017 - present)
  • IndoorChem: A community of researchers in the chemistry of indoor environments (2017 - present)
  • Investigating the impacts of air pollution and weathering on the efficiency of photovoltaic systems (2017 - present)
  • Emissions of ultrafine aerosols from 3D printers (2015 - present)

Past projects:

Laboratory Instrumentation

  • TSI scanning mobility particle sizer (SMPS) systems, including a 1-nm SMPS, nano DMA, and long DMA.
  • TSI Nanoscan portable SMPS system + optical particle sizer for size distributions 12 - 10,000 nm
  • Aethlabs 5-wavelength aethalometers
  • Thermodenuder, atomizer
  • 1 cubic meter teflon chamber
  • Access to GC-MS, ICP-MS, transmission and scanning electron microscopy