Math Modeling Seminar: Infection Risk of Airborne Respiratory Disease

Event Image
math modeling seminar z john zhai

Infection Risk of Airborne Respiratory Disease: Modeling Principles and Applications

Dr. Z. John Zhai
Professor in Architectural Engineering
Department of Civil, Environmental and Architectural Engineering
University of Colorado at Boulder

You may attend this lecture in person at 2305 Gosnell Hall or virtually via Zoom.
If you’d like to attend virtually, you may register Here for Zoom link.


Infection risk is commonly used to predict potential health impacts of airborne respiratory diseases (ARD) such as “SARS-CoV-2” and associated environment conditions and mitigation measures. The Wells-Riley model is one most popular model to predict a single mean infection risk of a specific indoor ARD event, which relies on the assumption of perfect air-mixing in the space. Detailed distribution of infection risk, especially for large spaces such as large lecture hall, indoor stadium, and ballroom, will be highly desired for evaluating indoor risks and improvement performance of mitigating strategies. This talk presents the development of new formulae for calculating the spatial and temporal distribution of infection risk, stemming from the original Wells-Riley concept but integrating the spatial and temporal distribution of pathogen concentrations. Case studies are showed for typical large public spaces (e.g., restaurant and ballroom). Distributed infection risks are predicted with and without mitigation measures, upon which critical parameters of air cleaners can be optimized. The method can be employed for estimating local infection risks of airborne respiratory diseases using either measured or simulated pathogen concentration.

Speaker Bio:
Dr. John Zhai is a Professor in the Department of Civil, Environmental and Architectural Engineering (CEAE) at University of Colorado at Boulder (UCB).  He has a unique and integrated background in both Mechanical and Architectural Engineering with an Engineering Doctor degree in Fluid Mechanics (Tsinghua University, 1999) and a Ph.D. in Building Technology (MIT, 2003). Dr. Zhai research and teaching interests and expertise include: building thermal and environmental systems; indoor and outdoor environmental quality; sustainable and immune buildings. Dr. Zhai is a Fellow of The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), The International Society of Indoor Air Quality and Climate (ISIAQ), and The International Building Performance Simulation Association (IBPSA).
Read more here.

Intended Audience:
Undergraduates, graduates, and experts. Those with interest in the topic.

The Math Modeling Seminar will recur each week throughout the semester on the same day and time. Find out more about upcoming speakers on the Mathematical Modeling Seminar Series webpage.
To request an interpreter, please visit

Event Contact: Nathan Cahill |

Nathan Cahill
Event Snapshot
When and Where
September 21, 2021
2:00 pm - 2:50 pm
Room/Location: See Zoom Registration Link

This is an RIT Only Event

Interpreter Requested?