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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/W006375/1
Title: CECAM - Chamber for Environmental Control of Airborne Microorganisms
Principal Investigator: Noakes, Professor C
Other Investigators:
Peckham, Professor D Kapur, Professor N Bayly, Professor A
Heard, Professor DE Fletcher, Dr LA Wilcox, Professor MH
King, Dr M Khan, Dr AI Sleigh, Dr PA
Murray, Professor BJ
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Aerosol Society of UK and Ireland Health and Safety Executive Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust
Philips Public Health England University of Bristol
University of Cambridge University of York
Department: Civil Engineering
Organisation: University of Leeds
Scheme: Standard Research
Starts: 01 October 2021 Ends: 30 September 2025 Value (£): 826,836
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Fluid Dynamics Instrumentation Eng. & Dev.
Urban & Land Management
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Healthcare
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
12 Jul 2021 EPSRC Strategic Equipment Interview Panel July 2021 - Panel 2 Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed how significant a role the indoor environment plays in the transmission of infection. The virus has highlighted how there are substantial gaps in knowledge relating to how microorganisms in aerosols and droplets are generated and dispersed in our buildings, how effectively we can measure and monitor risks in indoor environments, and how the design of the environment and the technologies within it can be used to control exposure to pathogens. While there is an immediate focus on respiratory infections, this challenge applies to a very wide range of microorganisms including gastroenteric pathogens and environmental microorganisms where exposure risks are driven by human interactions with the building layout, ventilation, heating and water systems. Understanding and tackling these challengers requires new knowledge about the interactions between microorganisms and the physical environment. Microbial aerosols in buildings are known to be released from human sources (respiratory aerosols, skin squame), building systems (aerosols from water, drainage and ventilation systems), industry processes (waste and waste water treatment, agricultural activities), the natural environment (sea, animals, plant pathogens) and medical procedures (dentistry, intubation). However we know very little about how the engineering design of the environment determines the generation, transport, deposition and control of microorganisms. Beyond microorganisms, there is growing awareness that human health is significantly affected by exposure to pollutants in indoor spaces and that many buildings are inadequately ventilated to provide healthy conditions for occupants.

The CECAM (Chamber for Environmental Control of Airborne Microorganisms) facility will provide a new, multi-user research environment that can enable controlled experiments with aerosolised microorganisms under different indoor environmental conditions. The facility will enable key research questions to be addressed relating to sources and survival of microbial aerosols, methods for measuring and monitoring microbial aerosols and pollutants, the role of ventilation and room layouts on the dispersion and deposition of microbial aerosols and other pollutants, the development of effective engineering solutions including personal protective equipment, air cleaning and disinfection devices, and better designs of key components such as showers, hot air dryers, air conditioning units and drainage systems. The facility will enable research at the interfaces of fluid dynamics and aerosol sciences with microbiology and indoor air chemistry that is driven by clinical challenges and the need for improved indoor environmental quality in buildings across just about every sector of society.

The CECAM facility will provide an integrated user environment that combines a controlled biocontainment chamber with dedicated air handling systems with a suite of environmental sensors and bioaerosol samplers including real-time bioaerosol sampling. Through location within a well-equipped microbiology laboratory and managed by a dedicated experimental officer, the CECAM facility will enable robust and safe experiments to be carried out by academic users, research organisations, NHS users and industry. This will include the ability for experiments to be carried out using human participants.
Key Findings
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Potential use in non-academic contexts
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Impacts
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Summary
Date Materialised
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Organisation Website: http://www.leeds.ac.uk