Dr Bryan R Bzdek’s research group at the University of Bristol addresses grand challenges in the chemistry of aerosols, which are solid particles or liquid droplets suspended in air. Aerosols are central to climate, health, and materials synthesis. For instance, aerosols are a major contributor to air pollution, serve as the seeds for atmospheric cloud droplets, and are vehicles for disease transmission.
With his group, Dr Bzdek develops new tools to characterise the physical and chemical properties of aerosols. Currently, they are exploring how the surfaces of aerosol particles can affect their ability to grow into cloud droplets and alter climate. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Dr Bzdek co-led a team of scientists and clinicians who measured respiratory aerosols emitted by humans during a range of tasks, including breathing, speaking, singing, playing musical instruments, exercising, and undergoing medical procedures. This work led directly to changes in UK government guidance in the performing arts and in the NHS England infection control and prevention manual.
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Dr Bryan R Bzdek is Proleptic Senior Lecturer in the School of Chemistry, University of Bristol. He earned a BS degree in chemistry at Bucknell University (Pennsylvania), where he performed undergraduate research on clay minerals with Molly McGuire. He then earned a PhD in chemistry with Murray Johnston at the University of Delaware, where he studied atmospheric nanoparticle growth mechanisms by mass spectrometry. In 2017, after his postdoctoral studies with Jonathan Reid at the University of Bristol, he stayed on to begin his independent career, aided by a NERC Independent Research Fellowship.
His research on the physical and analytical chemistry of aerosols spans applications in atmospheric science and health. He is currently developing new tools to characterise the interfaces of individual microscopic aerosol droplets. Bryan is a recipient of the Sheldon K Friedlander award from the American Association for Aerosol Research. In 2022, he received the Philip Leverhulme Prize. During the COVID-19 pandemic, his research altered UK government guidance in the performing arts and the NHS infection control and prevention manual. He also gave many print and radio interviews about aerosols and COVID-19 to organisations including US public radio, BBC, CBS, and CNN.