January 6, 2021 at 7 p.m.


Linsey C. Marr Ph.D.
Charles P. Lunsford Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineeering Virginia Tech
Renowned aerosol scientist*


Virtual Event

The Role of Aerosols in the Transmission of COVID-19

Since the COVID-19 pandemic, Dr. Marr’s research has been cited in The New York Times, The Washington Post, CNN, The Today Show, and hundreds of other prestigious media outlets. 

We are pleased to have Dr. Marr be our presenter for the Tenth Annual Delta Dental of Virginia Oral Health (Virtual) Endowed Lecture, presented by Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine and Delta Dental of Virginia.

Linsey C. Marr, Ph.D. Bio

Linsey C. Marr is the Charles P. Lunsford Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Virginia Tech. Her research group applies interdisciplinary approaches to study pollutants in indoor and outdoor air. She is especially interested in emerging or non-traditional aerosols, such as influenza virus and other microorganisms, and how they are physically and chemically transformed in the environment. In 2013, she received an NIH New Innovator award to study influenza virus in aerosols.

She currently serves on the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine’s Board on Environmental Studies and Toxicology. Marr received a B.S. in Engineering Science from Harvard College and a Ph.D. in Civil and Environmental Engineering from the University of California at Berkeley and completed her post-doctoral training in Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Delta Dental of Virginia Oral Health Endowed Lecture Abstract

There is overwhelming evidence that aerosols are an important route of transmission for COVID-19, both in close contact situations and at distances greater than six feet.

Aerosols are microscopic droplets that remain floating in the air for minutes to hours, during which they can be carried many meters on natural air currents.

SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, has been found in the air of hospital rooms and directly in the exhaled breath of patients, and certain superspreading events are best explained by aerosols.

Breathing, talking, coughing, and sneezing release respiratory droplets and aerosols that span a wide range of sizes. These aerosols may contain the virus if a person is infected.

Aerosol-generating procedures in health care settings and certain dental procedures in offices may also produce aerosols.

Physically, virus-laden aerosols behave like particulate air pollution, so we can apply fundamental principles about particles to understand how viruses move in the air and how to reduce exposure to them.

Respirators, surgical masks, and other types of face coverings have varying effectiveness for source control and reducing the wearer’s exposure. Aerosol science explains how distancing, masks, good ventilation, and filtration or germicidal UV lamps can help reduce exposure to virus in air and thus reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19.