Viral pathogens in the air

Understanding virus persistence and transmission in natural and engineered systems and identifying engineering controls to mitigate spread

Infectious diseases from emerging and endemic pathogens continue to cause significant morbidity and mortality worldwide. Recent global changes, including urbanization, climate change, and population growth, have altered the infectious disease landscape. Water scarcity and urbanization lead to the increased use of impacted water supplies, while climate change shifts seasonal dynamics and pathogen range. The growth of urban centers results in novel animal-human interactions, more densely populated urban settings give rise to more persistent outbreaks, and increased global connectivity leads to a higher frequency of human contacts and sources of onward transmission. These changes increase infectious disease spread and risk of viral emergence.

research overview large

Our research group leverages virology and engineering expertise to better understand risks from emerging and endemic viral pathogens and identify effective strategies to limit their spread in the built environment. We apply traditional and novel cell-culture techniques, such as organoid culture systems, coupled with innovative research tools, including flow virometry, next-generation sequencing, and predictive modeling, to provide new insights to the field. Ultimately, our work will establish transmission risks in the built environment and inform engineering interventions that will aid in building robust, sustainable responses to microbial threats.