Prof. Huffman joined the University of Denver (DU) in Dec. 2011 and is currently an associate professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry within the Division of Natural Sciences and Mathematics (NSM). The research of the Huffman lab focuses on analytical and atmospheric chemistry, emphasizing the development and application of new scientific approaches to addressing environmental problems. Much of this work involves atmospheric aerosols (small particles suspended in the air) from both field and lab perspectives. Atmospheric aerosols can either be natural or anthropogenic (human-caused) in source and can: severely reduce sky visibility, influence the Earth's radiative balance (climate forcing) directly or through affecting cloud formation, damage ecosystems via deposition of toxic chemical species, and affect human health through respiratory, cardiovascular, and allergenic diseases. The primary research focus of the group is bioaerosols (atmospheric particles of direct biological origin) including pollen, fungal spores, and bacteria. The group has also begun working on the biochemical modification of several types of proteins. Our work involves: (1) development and improvement of advanced analytical techniques to provide better tools for the study of atmospheric aerosols, (2) characterization of particles generated in the laboratory in order to better understand physical and chemical properties that influence atmospheric effects and human health, (3) collection and analysis of field samples from all over the globe to directly measure particles from the natural environment, and (4) lab studies related to protein modification.
Recently, Prof. Huffman and the lab has become involved in research and educational outreach associated with the airborne spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. See the tab above with more details.
** We are frequently recruiting both graduate and undergraduate students.**
-Prospective graduate students: Please email Dr. Huffman directly if interested. An undergraduate degree in chemistry is encouraged for application to the department, but not specifically required. To learn more about the graduate program at the University of Denver (DU), please click here. For more information about DU in general, follow the link to the university’s main page or YouTube channel.
-Undergraduate students at DU: The group is always looking for motivated students from all majors/disciplines of science and engineering and at all stages of study to join ongoing research projects. Motivated students as early as their first year at DU may begin working with our lab. Undergraduate students may work at any time as a lab volunteer and as an upper division student for research course credit and may apply for summer stipend support through the DU Undergraduate Research Center (URC). Undergraduate students are generally selected with evidence of strong academic record (i.e. GPA) and high maturity and motivation. If interested in learning more, please email Dr. Huffman with interest.
-Undergraduate work-study students at DU: We are always happy to talk talk to students with work-study awards. A variety of jobs are possible. Please contact Dr. Huffman. [In particular, current openings for Winter 2020 are available.]
- Undergraduate students external to DU: The group frequently considers high quality students from local universities (e.g. Regis, Metro State, UC-Denver) to engage in lab/field/analysis research in the Huffman group. This can take place throughout the academic year and/or over the summer. Communicate with Dr. Huffman directly if interested to explore this possibility.
-Postdoctoral scholars: Scientists of other levels, i.e. postdocs, will also be considered, but usually only if partially funded already.
News Section: (note that this section is frequently a bit out of date, but gets periodic updates)
10/06/2020 - Prof. Huffman contributes answers for a Univ. Denver Q&A on the Airborne Spread of COVID-19
09/04/2020 - Prof. Huffman interviewed by 303 Magazine about possible dangers of wildfire smoke at Colorado campgrounds. Story here.
08/06/2020 - Prof. Huffman interviewed by the Christian Chronicle about COVID spread in churches (interview focused specifically on educating a given Christian group). Article link and full video interview.
08/06/2020 - Prof. Huffman interviewed by CGTN about aerosol spread of COVID. Video here.
05/22/2020 - DU undergraduate student Kate Patterson awarded Summer Research Grant by the DU Undergraduate Research Center to conduct research in the Huffman Lab.
04/17/2020 - Prof. Huffman interviewed by The Verge about recent article on visualizing particle flow in rooms. Story here.
04/02/2020 - Special Issue in AS&T: "Bioaerosol Research: Methods, Challenges, and Perspectives" published; arranged, curated by Prof. Huffman and Dr. Shanna Ratnesar-Shumate; edited by Prof. Tiina Reponen. Preface editorial link here.
01/23/2020 - Pollen clustering strategies using a newly developed single-particle fluorescence spectrometer, led by DU graduate student Ben Swanson, published in Aerosol Science and Technology
11/11/2019 - The second perspective article published online (also #openaccess) in Aerosol Science and Technology: Bioaerosol field measurements: Challenges and perspectives in outdoor studies; co-led by Prof. Tina Šantl-Temkiv (Aarhus Univ., Denmark) and Alex Huffman
09/27/2019 - The first of two perspective articles published online (#openaccess) in Aerosol Science and Technology as a part of a forthcoming bioaerosol special issue: Real-time sensing of bioaerosols: Review and current perspectives; led by Alex Huffman with contributions from a diverse international team of 17 authors including former DU graduate student Nicole Savage
08/29/2019 - Collaborative overview paper on a 2015 aerosol-cloud study in Reunion is published, with contributions from DU undergraduate student Rachel Wegener and postdoc David O'Connor: Preliminary results from the FARCE 2015 campaign: multidisciplinary study of the forest–gas–aerosol–cloud system on the tropical island of La Réunion
07/11/2019 - Modification of lactoferrin by peroxynitrite reduces its antibacterial activity and changes protein structure, our second paper investigating human lactoferrin (LF) proteins and part of doctoral thesis work led by Amani Alhalwani, published in Proteins: Structure, Function, and Bioinformatics
02/28/2019 - Spectral Intensity Bioaerosol Sensor (SIBS): an instrument for spectrally resolved fluorescence detection of single particles in real time, second-authored by DU graduate student Nicole Savage, published in Atmospheric Measurement Techniques
09/07/2018 - DU graduate student Ben Swanson won TWO poster awards (student and overall competitions) at the International Aerosol Conference in St. Louis!
08/30/2018 - Evaluation of a hierarchical agglomerative clustering method applied to WIBS laboratory data for improved discrimination of biological particles by comparing data preparation techniques, led by DU graduate student Nicole Savage, published in Atmospheric Measurement Techniques
07/09/2018 - Characterization of steady-state fluorescence properties of polystyrene latex spheres using off- and online spectroscopic methods, second-authored by DU graduate student Nicole Savage, published in Atmospheric Measurement Techniques
02/05/2018 - The recent paper published in Optics Express by Swanson and Huffman chosen to be the Editors' Pick!
02/02/2018 - Development and characterization of an inexpensive single-particle fluorescence spectrometer for bioaerosol monitoring, authored by DU graduate student Ben Swanson, published in Optics Express
12/06/2017 - Development of a sandwich ELISA with potential for selective quantification of human lactoferrin protein nitrated through disease or environmental exposure, authored by graduate student Amani Alhalwani published online in Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry
11/10/2017 - Systematic characterization and fluorescence threshold strategies for the wideband integrated bioaerosol sensor (WIBS) using size-resolved biological and interfering particles, authored by graduate student Nicole Savage and undergraduate Christine Krentz, published in Atmos. Meas. Techniques
07/01/2017 - Prof. Huffman becomes interim department chair for 12 months
06/13/2017 - Prof. Huffman approved for tenure and promotion to associate professor
05/17/2017 - DU Undergraduate student Christine Krentz won two university awards in the lat week: (1) second place in the "Best Overall Presentation" category at the DU Undergraduate Research and Scholarship Symposium and (2) Undergraduate Award in Analytical Chemistry.
12/08/2016 - DU Masters student Marie Gosselin publishes paper in ACP entitled Fluorescent bioaerosol particle, molecular tracer, and fungal spore concentrations during dry and rainy periods in a semi-arid forest
10/21/2016 - DU Masters student Nicole Savage wins a student poster award at annual AAAR conference
08/23/2016 - A wavelength-dispersive instrument for characterizing fluorescence and scattering spectra of individual aerosol particles on a substrate by Donald Huffman, DU graduate student Ben Swanson, and Alex Huffman published in AMT. This is the first paper describing a new instrumental technique for collecting fluorescence spectra of individual particles and was a collaboration between Dr. Alex Huffman and his father, Emeritus Prof. Don Huffman from the University of Arizona.
08/09/2016 - Invited bioaerosol review entitled Bioaerosols in the Earth system: Climate, health, and ecosystem interactions published in Atmospheric Research, with contributions by Dr. Alex Huffman
08/02/2016 - Fluorescent biological aerosol particle measurements at a tropical high-altitude site in southern India during the southwest monsoon season by Valsan et al. (including Huffman) published in ACP
02/21/2016 - Addressing the ice nucleating abilities of marine aerosol: A combination of deposition mode laboratory and field measurements by Ladino et al. published in Atmospheric Environment; DU graduate student Yuri (J.) Li and Alex Huffman as authors
02/11/2016 - Size-resolved measurements of ice-nucleating particles at six locations in North America and one in Europe by Mason et al. published in ACP, with former DU undergraduate students Wal Lassar and Kyle Pierce as authors
11/10/2015 - Ice nucleating particles at a coastal marine boundary layer site: correlations with aerosol type and meteorological conditions by Mason et al. published in ACP, with former DU graduate student Yuri (J.) Li and Alex Huffman as authors
10/16/2015 - DU undergraduate student Kyle Pierce wins a student poster award at annual AAAR conference
10/16/2015 - Huffman group well represented at annual AAAR conference; 13 co-authored presentations, including 7 presented by group members
09/09/2015 - A marine biogenic source of atmospheric ice-nucleating particles by Wilson et al. (including Huffman) published in Nature
06/25/2015 - Huffman Group awarded STIR grant from Army Research Labs
06/15/2015 - The micro-orifice uniform deposit impactor–droplet freezing technique (MOUDI-DFT) for measuring concentrations of ice nucleating particles as a function of size: improvements and initial validation by Mason et al. (including Huffman) published in AMT
06/04/2015 - Regional-scale simulations of fungal spore aerosols using an emission parameterization adapted to local measurements of fluorescent biological aerosol particles by Hummel et al. (including Huffman) published in ACP
04/28/2015 - DU undergraduate student Kyle Pierce awarded Summer Research Grant by the DU Undergraduate Research Center to conduct research in the Huffman Lab
04/14/2015 - DU graduate student Nicole Savage awarded partial scholarship by the Rocky Mountain Section of the Air and Waste Management Association
03/14/2015 - Chamber bioaerosol study: human emissions of size-resolved fluorescent biological aerosol particles by Bhangar et al. (including Huffman) published in Indoor Air
01/07/2015 - Dr. David O'Connor joins the Huffman lab as an ELEVATE postdoc jointly funded by Marie Cure Actions (EU) and the Irish Research Council
11/24/2014 - CCN activity of size-selected aerosol at a Pacific coastal location by Yakobi-Hancock et al. (including Huffman) published in ACP
10/17/2014 - DU undergraduate student Emma Biesiada awarded prestigious 2-year Greater Research Opportunities (GRO) fellowship by EPA
09/03/2014 - Impacts of Aerosol Aging on Laser Desorption/Ionization in Single-Particle Mass Spectrometers by Hatch et al. (including Huffman) published in AS&T
08/25/2014 - Characterisation of bioaerosol emissions from a Colorado pine forest: results from the BEACHON-RoMBAS experiment by Crawford et al. (including Huffman) published in ACP
08/14/2014 - Prof. Huffman gives invited talk at American Chemical Society national meeting in San Francisco (abstract).
08/14/2014 - Ambient measurements of biological aerosol particles near Killarney, Ireland: a comparison between real-time fluorescence and microscopy techniques by Healy et al. (including Huffman) published in ACP
07/01/2014 - Prof. Huffman stands election for AAAR national Board of Directors.
07/01/2014 - Prof. Huffman joins Mainz Bioaerosol Laboratory (MBAL) as a research associate
06/30/2014 - Huffman Group participating in the multinational BIODETECT campaign at CEA outside of Paris, France through early August.
06/26/2014 - Overview of the Manitou Experimental Forest Observatory: site description and selected science results from 2008 to 2013 by Ortega et al. (including Huffman) published in ACP
04/30/2014 - DU undergraduate students Wal Lassar, Jack Maurer, and Kyle Pierce awarded Summer Research Grants by the DU Undergraduate Research Center to conduct research in the Huffman Lab
04/25/2014 - Size-resolved fluorescent biological aerosol particle concentrations and occupant emissions in a university classroom by Bhangar et al. (including Huffman) published in Indoor Air as a result of collaboration with W. Nazaroff group at Univ. California Berkeley
03/31/2014 - Huffman Group awarded grant from the University of Denver's Knoebel Center for the Study of Aging for research into the role environmental pollutants play in Dry Eye Syndrome
12/11/2013 - Seasonal cycles of fluorescent biological aerosol particles in boreal and semi-arid forests of Finland and Colorado by DU Masters student Carolyn Schumacher et al. published in ACP
12/09/2013 - Autofluorescence of atmospheric bioaerosols: spectral fingerprints and taxonomic trends of pollen by Pöhlker et al. (including Huffman) published in AMT
12/09/2013 - Prof. Huffman gives invited presentation (A11B-0028) at American Geophysical Union fall meeting in San Francisco, CA
11/26/2013 - Bioprecipitation: a feedback cycle linking Earth history, ecosystem dynamics and land use through biological ice nucleators in the atmosphere by Morris et al. (including Huffman) published online in Global Change Biology
10/08/2013 - Prof. Huffman co-convened special symposium (Bioaerosols: Characterization and Environmental Impact) at 32nd annual conference of American Association for Aerosol Research (AAAR) in Portland, OR
9/13/2013 - Biological aerosol particles as a key determinant of ice nuclei populations in a forest ecosystem by Tobo et al. (including Huffman) published in JGR
7/01/2013 - High concentrations of biological aerosol particles and ice nuclei during and after rain by Huffman et al. published in ACP
5/19/2013 - DU undergraduate students Marie Gosselin and Rachael Scoggins awarded summer PinS grants by the DU Undergraduate Research Center to conduct research in the Huffman Lab
4/17/2013 - Huffman Group awarded PROF grant by the University of Denver for innovative instrument development
3/13/2013 - Prof. Huffman invited to co-chair "Atmospheric aerosol in air quality and climate: the science and solutions" theme at Goldschmidt 2014 conference
3/05/2013 - Huffman Group awarded sub-contract grant for "Role of HVAC Systems in the Transmission of Infectious Agents in Buildings and Intermodal Transportation" (ASHREAE 1603-TRP) by ASHRAE
2/13/2013 - Cluster analysis of WIBS single-particle bioaerosol data by Robinson et al. (including Huffman) published in AMT
1/16/2013 - The impact of rain on ice nuclei populations at a forested site in Colorado by Prenni et al. (including Huffman) published in GRL
8/04/2012 - Prof. Huffman co-organized the "Bioaerosol Effects on Clouds 2012" workshop in Steamboat Springs, CO
6/22/2012 - Prof. Huffman was featured in a faculty profile video in the university-produced "DUing research" series. Watch the ~6 min video on the research tab for a general-audience introduction to our research.