Special Symposia

Bioaerosols: Characterization and Environmental Impact

J. Alex Huffman, University of Denver, Denver, CO
Matthew Berg, Mississippi State University, Mississippi State, MS

Bioaerosols, such as bacteria, fungal spores, pollen, and their fragments, play important roles in public health both outside and in the built environment, can be used as warfare agents, and may influence the climate system as efficient IN and CCN.  The properties and sources of these particles have not been well understood, and the ability to reliably and systematically detect bioaerosols is still met with significant challenges.  In particular, small fragments of intact microorganisms (e.g. bacterial vesicles, ruptured pollen fragments) are difficult to characterize by conventional techniques and may be systematically missed, adding further uncertainties.  Recent advancements in analysis techniques capable of detecting and identifying bioaerosols have helped to promote a resurgence of interest in the influence bioaerosols may play in various systems.  The process of understanding such interactions requires interdisciplinary collaborations between often widely separated academic and industrial research fields. 

The purpose of this symposium is to bring together an interdisciplinary mix of researchers with expertise and interest in characterization of bioaerosols and the role these aerosols play in various systems. Submissions in all areas related to bioaerosol science are appropriate, but are especially encouraged in the following focus areas:

(1)   Advanced detection and identification techniques: chemical (e.g. DNA/RNA sequencing), physical (e.g. light scattering, fluorescence), and biological (e.g. agar-culturing); including whole and fragments, sub-micron and super-micron

(2)   Laboratory studies of bioaerosol properties

(3)   In-field (indoor and outdoor) measurements of bioaerosols

(4)   Environmental impact, especially on clouds and climate

Engineered Nanoparticles: Emissions, Transformation, and Exposure

Philip Hopke, Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, Clarkson University, Potsdam, NY
Linsey C. Marr, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA

The explosive growth in nanotechnology has led to concerns about the potential health and environmental risks associated with exposure to engineered nanomaterials. The production, use, and disposal of nanomaterials will lead to release of particles, some of novel chemical composition and/or unique physical properties, into the atmosphere.  These environments include workplaces as well as the ambient atmosphere.  There, particles may be subject to physical and chemical transformations that alter their fate and transport in the environment and modify their potential for inducing adverse health effects.  The purpose of this symposium is to bring together cross-disciplinary research that encompasses release and reactivity of airborne nanoparticles, the resulting exposure, and the potential health effects.  The symposium will define the range of existing research efforts and permit the identification of major uncertainties related to possible problems that may arise from the increasing use of engineered nanomaterials.

Portable and Inexpensive Sensor Technology for Air Quality Monitoring: The Future is Now

Paul A. Solomon, US EPA, Las Vegas, NV
Ronald Williams, US EPA, Research Triangle Park, NC
Igor Paprotny and Richard M. White, UC Berkeley, Berkeley, CA
Lara A. Gundel, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Berkeley, CA

This symposium provides a window into the future by showing how advances in electronics, microfabrication, and computer sciences can change the paradigm of air pollution monitoring in the U.S. and around the world.  Using such tools will enable near real-time data collection and interpretation over spatial scales from personal to regional, in ways that accelerate our ability to address science and policy questions related to the health and environmental effects of air pollution. Individuals and community groups will also be able to monitor their environments in real-time so that they can safeguard their own wellbeing. 

This symposium will introduce gas and particle sensors and related systems to a wide audience of researchers, air quality managers, and policy makers who strive to reduce air pollutants to safe levels. The symposium will bring together air pollution scientists with electrical engineers, microfabricators, software designers, and instrumentation developers who will describe how advances in sensors, wireless communication and data visualization (for ‘Big Data’) make possible small, low-power, multi-pollutant, multi-parameter devices that communicate over wireless sensor networks.  Such configurations allow for flexible deployment options not possible in most monitoring networks. Presenters will also include those who use wireless sensor networks for community-based air monitoring in near real-time (community science).


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