As the human population surpasses 7 billion and continues to grow, new fossil fuel-based power plants are being built weekly and there is an ever-increasing global prevalence of motor vehicles, industrial activity and urbanization. Emissions of most pollutants are growing markedly. The historical epicenters of air pollution (Los Angeles, London and Mexico City) are improving, but the emergence of modern megacities throughout the world presents new problems on a greater scale. Through impacts on cardiovascular and pulmonary health, detrimental outdoor air quality is responsible for 1.3 million deaths per year globally, and acceptable health guidelines for many pollutants are approached or exceeded in locations worldwide (World Health Organization). The health effects of exposure to pollutants in indoor air are estimated to be even greater. Air quality science and engineering research is critical at a time when Earth's climate is changing, and public health and environmental quality are suffering due to atmospheric and indoor pollutants. Understanding emissions and risks throughout the developed and developing world is important to address the evermore global problem of air pollution. Yet, many science and policy questions remain to effectively mitigate air pollution, and protect human health and the environment.

At Yale, we aim to answer these timely questions at the nexus of air quality, human health, energy use, and climate change; with an emphasis on understanding emissions and the chemistry, physics, and biology of traditional and emerging pollutants in the both the ambient atmosphere and indoor environments. Research objectives focus on advancing the state of knowledge in atmospheric sciences and air quality engineering, understanding impacts on publich health, and providing important guidance for the development of effective air pollution control policy. This includes characterizing the magnitude, physical characteristics, and chemcial composition of pollutant sources and reactive chemcial precursors to secondary air pollution (i.e. ozone and secondary organic aerosol). Furthermore, we examine their dynamic behavior in the atmosphere, and ultimately the most effective control measures to reduce their exposure and impacts on humans and the environment.

In collaboration with faculty across Yale's campus, including the Yale Climate and Energy Institute, research projects and education span indoor, local, regional, and global scales with emphasis on both the developed and developing world. Our research combines the development of novel pollutant measurement techniques for use in the laboratory and fieldwork in tandem with modeling and statistical methods to study both gases and particles. Examples of prominent projects include studying emissions and impacts from prominent sources related to the production and consumption of fossil fuels; using biostatistics and epidemiology to provide policy relevant information on the public health impacts of ozone exposure; understanding how building design and occupancy influence the indoor microbiome; and new advancements at the research frontier of pathogens in biosolids used for agricultural fertilization.

Overall, research at Yale strives to understand and ameliorate impacts on human health and the environment through multi-facited research projects. We encourage interested students and scholars to explore faculty pages in the School of Engineering and those affiliated with the Yale Climate and Energy Institute.

Faculty involved with research:

Michelle Bell
– Forestry & Env. Studies & ChE & EnvE

Drew R. Gentner
– ChE & EnvE & Forestry & Env. Studies

Jordan Peccia
– ChE & EnvE