Topic status: We're looking for students to study this topic.
Every day tens of millions of people worldwide suffer from various types of viral infections. Some of these infections are very widely spread but are not severe, such as the common cold, while others are relatively more severe, like influenza. Economic losses due to these and a wide range of other types of viral infections are astronomic and include the costs of medical treatment of the infected people, costs of lost income due to inability to work, and finally costs of decreased productivity of those who are infected, yet continue to work.
Hypothesis/Aims: There are many pathways of virus transport, an important one of which being droplet infection, which occurs when aerosol droplets are generated and released during speech, coughing sneezing, vomiting, or aerosolation of faeces during sewage removal and treatment. The dynamics of virus carriage and survival in aerosol droplets, the role of environmental factors and ventilation are poorly understood. Therefore the aims of this project are to investigate the mechanisms governing the dynamics of viruses and aerosols containing viruses in indoor air, and develop quantitative understanding of the characteristics of droplets released to the air through the processes of aerosolation.
Approaches: The student will working with a multidisciplinary team of physicists and microbiologist. The student will not be expected to carry experiments involving particles with viral content.