Investigating the Chemistry of Atmospheric Aerosols and their Impacts on Health and Climate

Research in the Stone group focuses on understanding the composition and transformations of particulate matter in the atmosphere, or aerosols.  Our research is motivated by the need to understand how ambient air pollution impacts human and environmental health.  Poor air quality is associated with asthma and cardio-vascular diseases, increased hospital visits, and mortality.  Yet, the chemical drivers behind these health endpoints are not well understood.  In addition, aerosols affect climate though direct light absorption and reflection, as well as aerosol-cloud interactions.  Radiative forcing by aerosols is significant, particularly in heavily polluted regions of the world.  In order to evaluate the potential risks and responses to climate change, a better understanding of aerosols and their sources is needed.

Combining analytical, environmental, and organic chemistry, the Stone group takes an interdisciplinary approach to research.  Our experiments are field-oriented and we strive to understand atmospheric aerosols in the ambient environment.  To this end, we collect field samples in the Iowa City area and beyond.  In the laboratory, we employ chromatographic separations and mass spectrometry to analyze the composition of aerosols.  We advance molecular measurements of organic species in aerosols with the development new analytical methodology.  We use these measurements to connect air pollution sources and their environmental and health impacts.