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  • Writer's pictureVille Silvonen

Greetings from Australia: Science in the sun

Ville Silvonen in Brisbane, Australia.
Ville Silvonen in Brisbane, Australia.

For the past five months, I've had the privilege of working at the International Laboratory for Air Quality and Health (ILAQH) at Queensland University of Technology (QUT) in Brisbane, Australia. When the opportunity for this research exchange first arose, I felt a mix of excitement, nervousness, and a hint of fear.

However, shortly after my arrival, curiosity and gratitude took over, and as my time here gradually nears its end, I realize there's still so much to contribute and learn.

Working at ILAQH has been both familiar and entirely different from my experiences in Finland. My background is in engineering and aerosol physics. Before coming here, my focus was primarily on fieldwork related to the daycare study and hospital use cases.

However, here I've dedicated most of my time to developing innovative measurement techniques for assessing the risk of airborne transmission and factors affecting pathogen viability.

Collaborating with experts in microbiology and airborne viability has sparked many engaging and fruitful discussions, broadening my perspective on the intricacies of this research area.

The research scope at ILAQH aligns closely with that of the E3 project. Key topics here revolve around pathogen viability in the airborne phase, the morphology and composition of respiratory aerosol particles, and the development of novel measurement techniques. Significant attention is also given to creating intelligent building automation systems capable of detecting and responding to infection risks in indoor spaces.

Upon returning to Finland at the end of this year, my plan is to maintain close collaboration with ILAQH, exchanging ideas and research findings to achieve the best possible outcomes for infection-safe environments. Effective science thrives on open communication not only within research groups but also between different groups and disciplines.

Immersing myself in research far beyond my expertise has been incredibly educational, and I strongly encourage others to seize similar opportunities when presented.

I extend my deepest gratitude to my PhD supervisor, Professor Topi Rönkkö from Tampere University, and Professor Zoran Ristovski from ILAQH for granting me this invaluable opportunity. Special thanks to Distinguished Professor Lidia Morawska for insightful conversations and the entire ILAQH research group for their warm welcome and support.

I sincerely hope for continued collaboration on this crucial topic.

A big thank you to the E3 project and all partners for providing funding for my visit!

And, yes, I did get to see kangaroos and koalas!

Ville Silvonen

PhD Researcher

Aerosol Physics Laboratory

Tampere University


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