I am interested in airborne particles in general and those generated in indoor and workplace environments in particular. We spend – at least in the industrialized world – over 85% of our time indoors, of which 65% is in our homes. Almost every activity we do at home generate airborne particles, especially heat- or combustion related activities such as cooking, using the toaster or microwave, or burning candles. These activities can increase the particle concentration by one or two orders of magnitude, in terms of number, compared to the outdoor air.
I am interested in how these particles are generated; what their sources are, and what happens to them after they have become airborne. I am especially interested in those particles which are small enough to enter our respiratory tract and get deposited in the lungs. Airborne particles have been shown to affect our health. I want to help figure out how, and why.
I am also interested in measuring emissions and exposures at workplaces, since particles generated there often are of special interest when it comes to health. It can be because of their metal content (such as welding fume) or because of that we simply lack knowledge and experience of the particles (such as in the case of producing or working with engineered nanoparticles).
Human exposure studies:
Most of our general knowledge of health impact of particles comes from toxicological studies (in animals and cells) and from epidemiological studies based on measurements of outdoor particles. Using laboratory animals may initially be helpful in studies of acute effects of particle exposure. In this kind of studies, very high concentrations can be used to provoke effects, but due to differences in size, metabolism, breathing pattern etc. it is not straight forward to translate the results to the human physiology. Instead, we try to directly investigate how human health is affected by the surrounding air, using common particle types. By generating, in a controlled way, relevant concentrations of indoor and workplace aerosols and use these in human exposure studies we investigate different particle types, and hence different particle properties and search for markers of exposure, on DNA level, cell level, biochemically, and in heart rate variability. If such markers are identified, they can later be used for assessing human exposure in work (or other) environments. Candle smoke particles, particles generated by terpene-ozone reactions, and welding fume particles are the types I so far have been involved in generating, characterizing and investigating (described in detail in my thesis). Currently we do human exposure studies on particles generated by frying food and on zeolite particles (common fabric softener).
A newly started project, in which we aim to investigate skin uptake of semi volatile organic compounds in humans.
Cleaners and sprays:
In this project we will investigate how professional cleaners use cleaning spray, in detail characterize what particles the cleaners are exposed to as a result of the spraying, conduct a human exposure studies to see if and how lungs and/or cardiovascular system reacts, and finally stage an intervention to investigate if the cleaner’s health improve by changing to non-sprays.
I am involved in an ongoing nanosafety project, where we measured emissions and exposure at a carbon nanotube manufacturer (explained in my thesis), and at an r&d nanowire facility. At least two more workplaces will be examined within the frames of this project.
We are currently performing an extensive characterization on the vapor generated by electronic cigarettes.
I have been the main supervisor for two master theses:
Linus Ludvigsson: Qualitative and quantitative assessment of carbon nanotubes from emission and personal exposure measurements. 2012.
Mats Wahlberg: Right-sizing of HVAC systems and methods of saving energy for laboratories. 2013.
2010-onwards, Administrator of Course in Aerosol Technology
2014-onwards, Administrator of course Arbetsmiljö, Människa, Säkerhet (working environment)
I have been presenting my research for the public at several occasions. Among these are “Teknik och Naturvetarcirkeln”, where I have been given public lectures in three different cities in Sweden. I have also for 3 years been given lectures at “NMT-dagarna” (The days for nature, medicine and technology) for several hundred 17-year old youths. I won the Science Slam (Research grand prix) competition (in the best way presenting your research at three minutes) at Lund University this year. I have been part of starting up, and am still working in, a project called “Adopt a class of 8-graders”, where we try to reach kids in the age of 14 years, who go at schools in segregated areas where there are very few academic role models.