Dr Luke Knibbs
The University of Queensland
We all breathe about 10,000 litres of air each day, constantly being exposed to particles suspended in that air that could make us sick. Dr Knibbs’ research is about understanding the health effects of living and non-living particles in the air. Bacteria and viruses in the air enter our bodies when we inhale them and can cause a respiratory infection like influenza or tuberculosis. Air pollution and respiratory infections kill millions of people around the world every year. If we can understand how they affect us, then we can take measures to reduce their health impacts. For example, if we know that living close to a busy road increases the risk of a child developing asthma, then we can recommend that schools and day care centres be built well away from these roads. The science of studying things suspended in the air is endlessly challenging and interesting.
Luke has communicated his work through national mass media such as The Sydney Morning Herald and ABC radio and through online sites such as The Conversation). He summarised his work on airborne transmission of infectious bacteria among people with cystic fibrosis (CF) for CF Unite, a plain english web resource for individuals with CF.