Air Quality Experts

With the arrival of inversion season in the Salt Lake Valley, attention turns again to the air quality issues that plague Utah’s winters. Experts at the University of Utah, hailing from a wide range of disciplines, are available to comment on the sources and effects of Utah’s winter inversion pollution.  

Health Sciences

Robert Paine (Pulmonary Medicine)
Robert Paine is a pulmonary scientist with over 20 years of federal support for his basic and clinical research activities. He serves as director for the Program for Air Quality, Health and Society and can speak to many issues related to poor air quality and effects on health. He is currently chief of respiratory, critical care and occupational pulmonary medicine at the University of Utah and a member of the State Air Quality Board.


Michelle Hofmann (Pediatrics)
Michelle Hofmann is an assistant professor in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Utah. Michelle was instrumental in the Utah Clean School Bus Project, Idle Free Utah, Salt Lake Solutions Air Partners, and the Clear the Air Challenge. She is an ongoing member of the Utah Department of Health’s Asthma Task Force and she has worked collaboratively with the Utah Departments of Health and Environmental Quality in creating PM2.5 school recess guidelines and recommendations for outdoor physical activity during ozone season. Michelle is currently a member of the Mountain View Corridor’s Air Quality Working Group, charged with air quality monitoring and mitigation efforts associated with the development of this roadway. Michelle is on the Board of Directors for the Utah Clean Cities Coalition and served as Co-President of Utah Moms for Clean Air from 2009 to 2010. She has written public comments advocating for stronger National Ambient Air Quality Standards and has spoken to numerous audiences along the Wasatch Front regarding the health impacts of air pollution.



Amanda Bakian (Psychiatry),, 801-581-5413
Environmental epidemiology of suicide and autism spectrum disorder.

Jeanette Carpenter (Obstetrics and Gynecology),, 801-581-7260
Prenatal air pollution exposure.

Cheryl Pirozzi (Pulmonary Medicine),, 801-581-7899
Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis and other respiratory conditions.

Russell Richardson (Internal Medicine),, 801-582-1565
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Per Gesteland (Pediatrics),, 801-662-3667
Links between respiratory infections and bad air days.


Atmospheric Science and Engineering

Kerry Kelly (Chemical Engineering)
Kerry Kelly is associate director of the Program for Air Quality, Health, and Society and a Research Assistant Professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering and Institute for Clean and Secure Energy at the University of Utah. She is also a professional engineer and member of the State Air Quality Board. Her research focuses on air quality, carbon management and the evaluation of emerging energy technologies including consideration of their associated health, environmental, policy and performance issues.


John Lin (Atmospheric Science)
John Lin is involved in several research projects that are examining air pollution along the Wasatch Front, including an effort to gather measurements of PM2.5 and other pollutants on the TRAX system. He is a founding member of the Utah Atmospheric Trace gas & Air Quality laboratory (U-ATAQ) that posts real-time air quality measurements at He is involved in a study that will utilize both ground-based atmospheric chemistry observations at the University of Utah campus and airborne observations from a NOAA research plane that will fly around the Wasatch Front in January and February.



Terry Ring (Chemical Engineering),, 801-585-5705
Connections between oil and gas production and high ozone levels in the Uintah basin.

Erik Crosman (Atmospheric Science),, 505-570-0552
Numerical weather prediction and lake-atmosphere interactions.

John Horel (Atmospheric Science),, 801-581-7091
Mountain meteorology, MesoWest weather observation database.

David Whiteman (Atmospheric Science),, 801-585-1414
Temperature inversions and thermally-driven wind circulation.


Eric Sjoberg (Economics)

Eric Sjoberg is an assistant professor of economics. Sjoberg and graduate student Derek Hackmann published a study in the journal Air Quality, Atmosphere and Health in June 2016 that found cumulative exposure to fine particulate air pollution (PM2.5) during the first trimester of pregnancy reduces gestational age and increases the risk of preterm birth. Preterm births have been estimated to account for up to one-third of all infant deaths in the U.S. and pose a risk of both short- and long-term complications. The study of 7,224 births in Utah between 2009-2012 found the effects are larger as cumulative exposure increases; in addition, the study found cumulative exposure plays a larger role than intensive exposure. The finding indicates that, from a pregnancy perspective, policies that decrease average pollution levels can be more effective than policies targeted at peak pollution.


Student air quality projects

The student-funded Sustainable Campus Initiative Fund (SCIF) has been a catalyst for many student-led projects concerned with air quality, and each effort comes with its own approach, methods and goals. The University Air Quality Monitoring center used SCIF funding to capture and share real-time air quality data with the hopes of better understanding the problem, identifying air pollution sources and developing solutions for what can be done about wintertime air quality. The Moving U project asked students, faculty and staff to share their stories about personal struggles with poor air quality. This call for narratives received many submissions, and the best were featured at a few public events. Finally, one project made air filter masks available to the campus community at a discount. Emerson Andrews, SCIF coordinator, is available to discuss the SCIF program, these projects and can help coordinate interviews with the students involved.

Phone: 801-581-7510 | Email: