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Aerobiology: Microbiology meets atmospheric sciences (2018)

ECTS credits:

Course parameters:
Language: English
Level of course: PhD course (summer school)
Time of year: August 2018
No. of contact hours: 90-100 h
No. of hours in total incl. preparation, assignment(s) or the like: 150-180 h
Capacity limits: 20 participants

Objectives of the course:
The aim of this course is to give the students an understanding of and hands-on experience with the basic bioaerosol concepts and techniques, which will allow them to design and carry out experimental and environmental bioaerosol studies.

Learning outcomes and competences:

Major leaning outcomes
After completing this course, the students should be able to:

  • Understand key issues related to primary biological aerosol particles, such as ice nucleation, transformation of atmospheric chemicals, and dispersal to new terrestrial environments.
  • Explain how biological aerosols are different from non-biological aerosols.
  • Describe, apply and discuss the advantage/disadvantages of different on-line (OPS, SMPS, CCNc) and off-line measurement techniques (ice nucleation assays, flow cytometry, DNA extraction, qPCR).
  • Apply and contrast different techniques of bioaerosol generation in laboratory setting.
  • Apply and contrast different bioaerosol sampling techniques in both laboratory and environmental setting.
  • Understand and interpret results generated by different on-line and off-line measurement techniques.
  • Design bioaerosol laboratory and field experiments, i.e. develop meaningful hypothesis and reflect on different analytical methods that could be used to address the hypothesis.

Other leaning outcomes
After completing this school, the students will be able to:

  • Discuss scientific literature both within the mainstream bioaerosol field as well as crossing into other fields, such as e.g. astrobiology.
  • Compose a scientific report, in which they critically evaluate and reflect on the results obtained by the laboratory and field experiments.

Compulsory programme:

Pre-course activities
There will be some reading and participation in on-line activities required in advance of the course, in order to prepare for the experimental part of the course.

Syllabus, tools and resources
The course will be split into two parts. The first part will be more theoretical and will include lectures, discussions and a journal club. The second part will be project work in small groups that will select a specific scientific question, which they will address experimentally. During this summer school you will learn about:

  1. Bioaerosol generation in the laboratory: SLAG, bubble tank
  2. Bioaerosol collections by diverse complementary methods: impingers, filter collectors
  3. Online analysis of (bio)aerosols in the laboratory and in the environment: OPS, SMPS, BioTrak, CCNc
  4. Offline analysis of (bio)aerosols: ice nucleation assays, flow cytometry, nuclear acids extraction and qPCR

Exam and assessment
Students write a scientific report based on the results of their project work.

Course contents:
Primary biological aerosol particles (PBAP) have been widely recognized as a main aerosol species in the troposphere, with far-reaching implications for atmospheric chemistry and physics, biogeography, epidemiology, and meteorology. Study of PBAP relies on a combination of disciplines, which will be introduced during the summer school. The course will cover: (1) the interrelations between PBAP and the processes of cloud formation, precipitation development, as well as chemical processing in the atmosphere; (2) health and environmental effects of PBAP; (3) microbial physiology in the atmosphere and its relevance for microbial dispersal and biogeography. Participants will gain both theoretical and hands-on experience for studying these topics using a range of techniques and instruments. Finally, there will be opportunities to discuss the challenges facing researchers in the field.

This course is aimed at natural scientists, i.e. microbiologists, physicist, chemists, meteorologists, modellers, environmental scientists, and medical students, who are interested or already working in aerobiology-related fields. The audience should primarily be PhD students, Postdocs and advance M.Sc. students.

Name of lecturers:
Assist. Prof. Tina Santl-Temkiv, Prof. Merete Bilde, Prof. Kai Finster, Prof. Mariane Glasius, Prof. Torben Sigsgaard, Sen Res. Andreas Massling, Assoc. Prof. Thomas Boesen, Assoc. Prof. Tobias Weidner, Assoc. Prof. Jakob Löndahl, Res. Manuel Dall’Osto

Type of course/teaching methods:
Lectures, seminars, hands-on project work (laboratory experiment)

Delort, A.-M. & Amato, P. Microbiology of Aerosols. (2017). doi:10.1002/9781119132318
Selected papers for group work

Course homepage:

Course assessment:
Exam and assessment (Pass-Fail)
Students write a scientific report based on the results of their project work.

Department of Bioscience, Aarhus University

20-31 August 2018

Department of Bioscience and Department of Chemistry at Aarhus University

For registering, please write to temkiv@phys.au.dk. Deadline is 15 July 2018.

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