Indoor Air 2011 brought more than 1,000 experts from around the world to Austin in June. CAEE Professor Richard L. Corsi served as president of the triennial conference, which was held in the US for the first time since 1981. The conference was supported by 14 major sponsors, including the National Science Foundation, US Environmental Protection Agency, US Department of Housing and Urban Development, and the Sloan Foundation.
“The international nature of Indoor Air 2011 was very exciting,” says Corsi. “As organizers, we provided our guests with a little bit of Texas, from Rock-a-Billy music to BBQ at the Salt Lick, from the LBJ Library to the Umlauf Sculpture Garden, our attendees commented on not only our great technical program, but also on our wonderful and friendly social programs.”
Over 800 technical presentations were made on research ranging from indoor sources and effects of endocrine disrupting compounds, indoor chemistry, novel engineering solutions to indoor pollution problems, to indoor air quality in green buildings. Several special symposia were also held at the conference and provided timely information to the attendees. For example, a symposium on climate change effects on indoor air quality was held on June 7th. That same day, the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies released a report on the topic. Several key members of the committee that wrote the report attended Indoor Air 2011 to discuss their findings.
Another symposium was held on indoor air quality in affordable housing, including the effects of weatherization in indoor air quality. A symposium on microbiomes of built environments brought together some of the world’s foremost molecular biologists and building scientists to discuss new tools for better understanding microbial diversity and ecology in buildings, and was kicked-off by a keynote address by esteemed molecular biologist J. Craig Venter.
The conference also showcased the Building Energy and Environments research group within CAEE. CAEE professors Kerry Kinney, Atila Novoselac, and Jeffrey Siegel, and research engineers Neil Crain and Dustin Poppendieck led tours of the outstanding indoor air quality research facilities at the J.J. Pickle Research Campus. Assistant professor Ying Xu became the sixth recipient of the Yaglou Award, which is given to promising young investigators in the field of indoor air quality. Ph.D. candidate James Lo received second prize for podium presentations by students at the conference, and CAEE students gave over 20 presentations on their own research, served as the session moderators and monitors, assisted with various aspects of on-site conference activities, and planned the student program for the conference.
“Our students were stars of the conference”, says Corsi. “Their presence was highly visible and I am so proud of their accomplishments and the many positive comments I received about their contributions to the conference.”
With support from the National Science Foundation, CAEE students also organized a two-day symposium titled “Indoor Air Quality: Cook Stoves in Developing Countries”, an important issue that is responsible for up to 4% of global deaths, largely among children.
It was also announced that Indoor Air 2014 will be held in Hong Kong and organized by a consortium of five major universities there. CAEE students are eager to present more cutting-edge research three years from now.
For photos and a more in-depth review of the conference, please visit here.