Lydia Bourouiba

Trained in theoretical physics and applied mathematics, Lydia Bourouiba investigates the fluid dynamics and biophysics governing pathogen transmission in human, animal, and plant populations. Her work combines mechanical, physical, and biological experimentation with mechanistic physical and physiological modeling to help enable the world to face the increasing threat of emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases, and to improve preparedness for pandemics in an increasingly populated and ever-more connected world. An example of such work is Lydia’s research on the fluid dynamics of sneezing, in which slow motion footage, measurements, and mathematical modeling and other measurements have helped Lydia and her team to better understand the role that sneezes play in the spread of infections. Lydia is a Professor at MIT’s School of Engineering, where she founded and directs the Fluid Dynamics of Disease Transmission Laboratory. She is also an affiliate member of the faculty at Harvard Medical School and received many awards, including the Tse Cheuk Ng Tai’s Prize for Innovative Research in Health Sciences and the 2018 Smith Family Foundation Odyssey Award for high-risk/high-reward basic science research.

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Disease Transmission Scientist