Aerobiology and the risk to humans

Lead Research Organisation: University of Bristol
Department Name: Chemistry


The airborne transmission of disease contributes to the deaths and morbidity of millions of people every year. However, little is known about the physiological effects of being airborne on the bacteria that cause these diseases. This project aims to fill these gaps in our understanding using a newly developed technique, which can recreate the conditions experienced by airborne bacteria. This new technique grants a level of control over the conditions and timeframes of these experiments that has not before been possible.
The technique uses a newly developed instrument, and part of the project will be to develop the capability of the instrument to produce atmospheres of varying relative humidity and gaseous composition. In addition, protocols will be developed to allow the manipulation of factors such as the size and composition of the airborne droplets. The instrument will then be used to probe the impact of environmental parameters, such as relative humidity, on the airborne survival of bacteria. We will start with a harmless strain of E. coli and then move on to more clinically relevant organisms.
The data from these experiments will be used to better inform infection control procedures and give us a more complete understanding of the factors relevant to airborne disease transmission. The technology we will develop could be adopted by other researchers and applied to the study of a wide range of different infectious diseases.


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
EP/N509619/1 01/10/2016 30/09/2021
2123251 Studentship EP/N509619/1 01/10/2018 31/03/2022 Henry Oswin
EP/R513179/1 01/10/2018 30/09/2023
2123251 Studentship EP/R513179/1 01/10/2018 31/03/2022 Henry Oswin