(UBCO’s Airborne Disease Transmission Research Cluster)

(UBCO’s Airborne Disease Transmission Research Cluster)

UBCO research team working to contain airborne disease transmission

The team brings in researchers and students from different disciplines

UBC Okanagan researchers are currently at the forefront of studying airborne disease transmission and developing technologies and equipment to keep people safe indoors.

The Airborne Disease Transmission Research Cluster is an interdisciplinary group of researchers led by associate professors Jonathan Little and Sunny Li. Little heads the health aspects of the group while Li is responsible for engineering.

“This research is a collaboration between myself, a health researcher, but primarily the brains behind the operation are the engineers who study fluid dynamics and how things flow in the air,” said Little.

“Obviously, right now, we’re in a situation where airborne disease transmission is on the top of many people’s minds. The research centre was really to bring together an interdisciplinary team to address this problem.”

But just how are they researching airborne particles and disease transmission when everyone is apart?

The group installed mannequin heads in a classroom to simulate mouth and nose structures, installing nebulizers that imitate breathing. Different kinds of fluids and solutions with DNA-coated microspheres are put in the nebulizers to simulate different kinds of diseases.

An air droplet counter then measures how big the particles are, how many there are in the room, and how they are moving.

Li’s team then visualizes the results to show what the particles are doing — if they’re floating around or sticking to a surface — and how they’re moving in the room.

The goal of the entire research cluster is to keep health care workers and other members of the public safe in a variety of settings.

The team is also hoping to develop technologies and equipment that will help address disease transmission. Little said they are working with industry partners to make their ideas into reality, collaborating with health care providers including Interior Health and Care Dental Centre, industry specialists like Delta-T consultants and CareHealth Meditech.

“We can see that many industries and companies responded to the pandemic and develop products and put them to market quickly,” Li said.

“But do these devices offer the best protection? I don’t think so. So to make those improvements on these products, that’s what we’re doing here and that’s how we’re contributing to our Kelowna community.”

READ MORE: B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate falls to 411 cases Tuesday

READ MORE: Masks now required at all times inside B.C. gyms, including during workouts


@twilamam
twila.amato@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Coronavirus

Just Posted

This undated file photo provided by Ernie Carswell & Partners shows the home featured in the opening and closing scenes of The Brady Bunch in Los Angeles. Do you know the occupation of Mike Brady, the father in this show about a blended family? (Anthony Barcelo/Ernie Carswell & Partners via AP, File)
QUIZ: A celebration of dad on Father’s Day

How much do you know about famous fathers?

North Westside residents can dispose of their unwanted bulky items between June 30 and July 14, 2021. (File photo)
North Westside residents can soon get rid of unwanted bulky items

Large household items can be disposed of at North Westside Transfer Station June 30 to July 14

Starting in 2022, the Columbia Shuswap Regional District is extending dog control to the entire Electoral Area D area. (Stock photo)
Dog control bylaw passes in Shuswap area despite ‘threatening’ emails

CSRD board extending full dog control to Electoral Area D; director calls for respectful discussion

The new Civic Memorial Park will incorporate pieces of the 80-year-old arena it replaces. (Artists rendering)
Pieces of Civic Arena reclaimed for new Vernon park

City centre space to incorporate wood from the historic arena

Fruit farmers in the Okanagan and Creston valleys are in desperate need of cherry harvesters amid COVID-19 work shortages. (Photo: Unsplash/Abigail Miller)
‘Desperate’ need for workers at Okanagan cherry farms

Fruit farmers are worried they’ll have to abandon crops due to COVID-19 work shortages

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

Barbara Violo, pharmacist and owner of The Junction Chemist Pharmacy, draws up a dose behind vials of both Pfizer-BioNTech and Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines on the counter, in Toronto, Friday, June 18, 2021. An independent vaccine tracker website founded by a University of Saskatchewan student says just over 20 per cent of eligible Canadians — those 12 years old and above — are now fully vaccinated. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
At least 20% of eligible Canadians fully vaccinated, 75% with one dose: data

Earlier projections for reopening at this milestone didn’t include Delta variant

Emily Steele holds up a collage of her son, 16-year-old Elijah-Iain Beauregard who was stabbed and killed in June 2019, outside of Kelowna Law Courts on June 18. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Kelowna woman who fatally stabbed Eli Beauregard facing up to 1.5 years of jail time

Her jail sentence would be followed by an additional one to 1.5 years of supervision

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Cpl. Scott MacLeod and Police Service Dog Jago. Jago was killed in the line of duty on Thursday, June 17. (RCMP)
Abbotsford police, RCMP grieve 4-year-old service dog killed in line of duty

Jago killed by armed suspect during ‘high-risk’ incident in Alberta

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

The George Road wildfire near Lytton, B.C., has grown to 250 hectares. (BC Wildfire Service)
B.C. drone sighting halts helicopters fighting 250 hectares of wildfire

‘If a drone collides with firefighting aircraft the consequences could be deadly,’ says BC Wildfire Service

A dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is pictured at a vaccination site in Vancouver Thursday, March 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
NACI advice to mix vaccines gets varied reaction from AstraZeneca double-dosers

NACI recommends an mRNA vaccine for all Canadians receiving a second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine

A aerial view shows the debris going into Quesnel Lake caused by a tailings pond breach near the town of Likely, B.C., Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Updated tailings code after Mount Polley an improvement: B.C. mines auditor

British Columbia’s chief auditor of mines has found changes to the province’s requirements for tailings storage facilities

Most Read