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McKelvey School of Engineering

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EECE Seminar - Linsey Marr

Friday, April 26 | 3:00 PM - 4:00 PM

Stephen F. & Camilla T. Brauer Hall, 12
6548 Forest Park Pkwy, St. Louis, MO 63112, USA

Dr. Linsey Marr, Professor
Civil & Environmental Engineering
Virginia Tech

Engineering-Based Interventions for Airborne Disease Transmission

The Covid-19 pandemic brought recognition to the previously obscure field of study of pathogens in the air. Gaps in knowledge remain about the detailed mechanisms of transmission and the effectiveness of engineering-based interventions in real-world settings. Ventilation is a proven method for reducing pathogen concentrations in the air, but the magnitude of its impact on actual transmission events is uncertain. Using a novel experimental setup resembling childcare settings, we studied the impact of ventilation rate on influenza virus transmission between ferrets. We exposed four recipient ferrets to a donor infected with influenza virus (H1N1pdm09) at low and high ventilation rates. Surprisingly, the transmission efficiency of the virus was 50% in both cases. These findings indicate that for exposures involving plentiful interactions with individuals at close range and with contaminated objects, ventilation does not significantly impact transmission efficiency. Behavioral and environmental factors must be considered when designing and implementing engineering-based interventions for airborne disease transmission.

Linsey Marr is a University Distinguished Professor and the Charles P. Lunsford Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Virginia Tech. Her research group studies pollutants in indoor and outdoor air. Prior to the pandemic, she was one of a small number of researchers who studied viruses in the air. Marr is a MacArthur Fellow, a member of the National Academy of Engineering, and a fellow of three other professional organizations. She received a B.S. in engineering science from Harvard College and a Ph.D. in civil and environmental engineering from the University of California, Berkeley and completed her post-doctoral training at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Event Type



McKelvey School of Engineering


Science & Technology



Energy, Environmental & Chemical Engineering

##seminar #Ryckman Distinguished Lecture

Event Contact


Speaker Information

Linsey Marr, Professor

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