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February Webinar: “Smoke Detector” of Human Disease for Environmental Aerosol Exposure
February 22 @ 8:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Environmental aerosol exposure causes many diseases including asthma, respiratory infections and death. Among other routes, airborne one often dominates the exposure. Air consists of many different pollutants (both biological and non-biological). COVID-19 pandemic further threatens the air safety, and people have to wear the mask to prevent the inhalation of SARS-CoV-2. Different technologies have been developed for real-time monitoring various air pollutants, but such efforts are far from enough to offer proper aerosol protection. Although humans have receptors for certain air pollutants such as endotoxin, many aerosol exposures occur silently without any knowledge, e.g., inhalation COVID-19 virus aerosol. It is rather important to equip humans with the capability to monitor such occurrences such that the relevant problems can be corrected in time to avoid physiology changes further inducing diseases. Breath-borne volatile organic compounds (VOCs) have emerged as a promising non-invasive sample for disease diagnosis, including cancer and diabetes. Most recently, it was shown that rats emitted distinctive profile of VOCs within minutes when exposed to different pollutants including ozone and endotoxin via inhalation. During the pandemic times, breath-borne VOC fingerprint was also used to rapidly screen COVID-19. Pollutant exposure could result in changes in metabolism, thus releasing different patterns of VOCs. Close monitoring of exhaled VOC profile can spot the early signs of pre-disease state such that the exposure can be immediately cut off. Sensor array and machine learning together can lend a great hand toward such an objective. In this talk, I will present some examples from our laboratory for these endeavors and hope to foster collaborations and produce other inspiring thoughts across disciplines.
About the Presenter: Maosheng Yao is a Boya Distinguished Professor in the College of Environmental Sciences and Engineering at Peking University in Beijing, China. Prof. Yao received his Ph.D. in Environmental Science from Rutgers University in 2006, and completed postdoctoral research in the Department of Chemical and Environmental Engineering at Yale University. His current research interests include bioaerosol, air toxicity, and environmental health. His work was featured by ACS Chemical & Engineering News, and recognized by a Best ES&T Science Paper Award of 2018, a second prize for “P.R. China State Technological Invention Award”, and the 44th Geneva International Exhibition Special Gold Award in 2016. Dr. Yao was a recipient of three major international aerosol awards, including the Marian Smoluchowski Award in 2013 from GAeF, the 2013 Asian Young Aerosol Scientist Award from Asian Aerosol Research Assembly (AARA), and also the Kenneth T. Whitby Award in 2014 from American Association for Aerosol Research(AAAR). The PhD dissertation Dr. Yao directed also won the AAAR Sheldon K. Friedlander Award. In 2017, Dr. Yao was awarded the National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC) Distinguished Young Scholar Award. His several research patents have been successfully commercialized and widely used in China, including their applications for monitoring SARS-CoV-2. His work on SARS-CoV-2 aerosol detection was named the Top 10 Scientific Advances in Eco-Environment Fields in China. In 2021, Dr. Yao was awarded the J Aerosol Sci Inaugural “Excellence in Research” (JASER) Award. Dr. Yao initiated the National Bioaerosol Symposium in China. Dr. Yao organized and chaired state level Bioaerosol and Antibiotic Resistance Genes (ARG) Xiangshan Conferences. Currently, Dr. Yao is serving as the Executive Vice Chair for Indoor Environment and Health Branch, Chinese Society for Environmental Sciences.