The UNC-Chapel Hill’s School of Public Health is unique because it houses a department of engineering. Having engineers working closely with other traditional Public Health departments provides our graduate students with novel opportunities for exciting interdisciplinary research in air quality, human health effects, and sustainable water resources. In our department our graduate students have the opportunity to interact with faculty who have a large array of expertise from the physical and life sciences to engineering. These students tackle societies largest environmental problems from the availability of clean water in developing countries to climate change. In this advanced research workshop you’ll find out about UNC’s cutting edge research in the field of air quality and human health. This includes our new discoveries in the link of climate change and its impact on public health. Could there be a benefit for air quality when we reduce greenhouse gasses? We’ll also discuss the development of our patented air quality biosensor that uses living human cells to quantify the toxicity of the air we breathe. Could this new technology be used to identify what are the deadliest constituents of our complex atmosphere? Finally, I’ll discuss our latest new discoveries in atmospheric chemistry that has linked the formation of particulate matter to chemicals emitted by trees. Do trees pollute the atmosphere? If you are interested in the answers to these questions come find out what a bunch of dedicated engineers are doing to save human lives and hope their work can inspire you.
I joined the faculty at UNC-Chapel Hill in 2005. I received a Ph.D. and a M.S. in chemical engineering from the University of Texas at Austin and was a GEM fellow from 2001-2003. The focus of my research is atmospheric chemistry, the formation of air pollution, and the links to public health. I use high performance computers and three-dimensional simulations to model the atmosphere to try to improve our understanding about how air pollution forms. I have also developed a biosensor technology to quantify the toxicity of air using living human cells. Through my work, I am able to provide scientific advice to policy makers who make the decisions that can improve our quality of life. I also serve on the advisory board for the Scholars’ Latino Initiative a program dedicated to providing higher education opportunities for Latino youth in North Carolina.