Air Quality

A coal fired power plant
A coal fired power plant.

Air quality is a measure of the pollutants in our environment.

Poor air quality, or air pollution can be caused by a number of factors from personal care products like hair spray to burning fossil fuels like coal.

Regardless of the cause, air pollution can harm our health. Air pollution can impact gene expression and cause diseases like asthma, as well as provoke development of lung cancer and heart disease. In developed nations, air quality rises to the top of the list of risk factors that impact healthy individuals.

At the Colorado State University Energy Institute, our team of experts on air quality are working to quantify and better understand the

Xioying in china with air quality monitor
Xiaoying Li poses in China. with an air quality monitor that measures fine particulate matter in the air.

impacts of indoor and outdoor air pollution on the environment and on our health. Specifically, researchers are exploring topics related to air quality like exposure science, aerosol technology, chemistry and air pollution-related disease.

These research interests allow our experts to explore questions relevant to energy policy, housing, transportation planning and their impacts on air pollution exposure and human health; to look at how to improve the treatment of particulate matter in air quality models used for regulatory purposes; and study the atmospheric evolution and properties of air pollutants arising from energy systems.

Our experts develop new, more accurate and affordable ways to measure air quality with senor technologies. These developments have resulted in patents and the formation of companies like Access Sensor Technologies.  The state-of-the-art sensor technologies developed by our experts are  currently being used to assess human exposure to air pollution in the largest human/environmental health study in the history of mankind (PURE-AIR) and have even been deployed on the International Space Station. Our team is also part of a collaborative cross-discipline effort to study air quality and produce practical solutions. This effort is known as the CSU Partnership for Air Quality, Climate, and Health (PACH).

Air Quality Experts

Ellison Carter
Assistant Professor in Civil and Environmental Engineering

Jason Quinn
Shantanu Jathar
Assistant Professor in Mechanical Engineering
Research website

John Volckens
Professor of Mechanical Engineering
Director of the Center for Energy Development and Health at the CSU Energy Institute


Kelsey Bilsback

Kristen Fedak

Xiaoying Li

Ethan Walker

Eric Wendt

Casey Quinn

Lizette van Zyl