The Centre for Safe Air supports collaborative projects regarding high priority air quality hazards including pollution, smoke, dust and biological particles like pollen. Through targeted funding, the Centre develops the capacity of emerging researchers, and fosters the translation of evidence into policy and practice.


Seed funding recipients announced - 2023/2024

The Centre for Safe Air is delighted to announce the successful recipients of Centre for Safe Air seed funding 2023.

  1. Penelope Jones, Fay Johnston, Graeme Zosky, Sotiris Vardoulakis et al. – Let’s talk about air: participatory action research to build capacity in air quality and health.
  2. Sotiris Vardoulakis, Amanda Wheeler, Fay Johnston et al. – An evaluation of public buildings as safe air shelters during smoke episodes.
  3. Shandy Li, Yuming Guo et al. – Projecting global future bushfire-related air pollution using advanced artificial intelligence (AI) technology.
  4. Christine Cowie, Guy Marks, Amanda Wheeler et al. – Characterising differences in urban black carbon and ultrafine particles to inform urban policy making.
  5. Nur Sabrina Idrose, Shyamali Dharmage et al. -Do aeroallergen-induced adverse cardio-respiratory outcomes (heart rate, blood pressure, hs-troponin, lung function) become worse in those with a history of COVID-19 infection or long COVID?

Centre for Safe Air postdoctoral fellows – 2024

Dr Nicolás Borchers Arriagada is a Sohn Hearts and Minds Research Fellow and a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Menzies Institute for Medical Research at UTAS. We are delighted to support his research project ‘Using machine learning to predict fire smoke PM2.5 for enhanced fire and health policy in Australia’.

About: With climate change, bushfires will become more frequent and intense. Prescribed burns are used to reduce bushfire risk. Both produce large amounts of smoke, affect the health of Australians and result in high costs for society. This project will enable fire and air quality practitioners better project health, by presenting an assessment of historical and future impacts of fire smoke PM2.5 and developing an interactive desktop tool to improve the assessment of fires across Australia.

Dr Sabrina Idrose is an early career Research Fellow specialising in Environmental Epidemiology, at the Allergy and Lung Health Unit, University of Melbourne. We are delighted to support her research project ‘Breathe with Caution: Unravelling novel insights into aeroallergen induced cardio-respiratory health effects and developing innovative tools for predicting its risks’.

About: Climate change has increased aeroallergen levels, which could be a major health hazard for lung and heart diseases. However, at present, it is not well understood how aeroallergens impact the lungs and heart, nor who is most susceptible when aeroallergen levels are high. Dr Idrose will investigate if aeroallergen exposure can affect the lungs and heart and develop tools to identify those at risk of harm to facilitate early detection and management, and ultimately reduce its health burden.

Introducing our new post doctoral fellow, Dr Rachel Tham. Dr Tham is a Research Fellow at the University of Melbourne based in the Department of Medicine and Melbourne School of Population and Global Health.

We are delighted to fund her research project: ‘Investigating airborne allergen-pollutant co-exposures on allergic respiratory health – a mixed method approach’

About the project: Poor air quality is the leading environmental contributor to disease burden. Climate change affects air quality, including pollen and fungal allergens and is emerging as a serious threat to community health. Little is known about how air pollution can worsen the effect of airborne allergens on health. My research examines the combined effects of airborne allergens and air pollutants on allergic respiratory health to inform understanding of their health risks and enable people to manage exposure.

Dr Gongbo Chen is a research fellow at Climate, Air Quality Research Unit, SPHPM, Monash University.

We are delighted to support his research project: ‘Global mortality burden of industry-related air pollution’

About: This is the first and largest project to systematically evaluate the mortality burden attributable to air pollution from industry sources worldwide. This project will provide distinctive insights by leveraging large, high-quality, and world-unique data along with state-of-the-art methodologies to offer a tailored understanding of the health impact of global industrial air pollution. It aids in enacting evidence-based policies for emission reduction and public health protection.

Alternative career pathways in science

Our alumni showcase the diverse pathways a career in science can take you. Have a look below by selecting on the following tag career pathways.

Past Alumni

Dr. Mahsan Sadeghi, a recipient of the CSIRO Early Research Career (CERC) fellowship, is currently a Research Fellow in CSIRO's Energy Business Unit. Her work centres on addressing the challenges of residential overheating and enhancing occupant thermal comfort and health. With temperatures soaring during Australian summers, residential overheating has become a pressing concern, leading to discomfort, health issues, and even mortality in extreme cases. Dr. Sadeghi's research aims to develop a climate-sensitive model for a future Australian thermal comfort standard to mitigate these risks. With a background in architecture, Dr. Sadeghi earned her Ph.D. from The University of Sydney's School of Architecture, Design, and Planning. Her doctoral thesis focused on improving occupant thermal comfort through advanced ventilation systems in Australian residential contexts. Prior to her role at CSIRO, Dr. Sadeghi benefited from a fellowship with the Centre of Air pollution, energy, and health Research (CAR). Her interdisciplinary project explored the intersection of healthy built environments, emphasizing greening infrastructures and their impacts on urban overheating, energy demand, and associated health benefits. Dr. Sadeghi's journey from architecture to health research has been greatly enriched by her time with CAR. Through this fellowship, she expanded her knowledge into the health discipline and forged valuable connections within the health domain. This experience has been instrumental in her career progression, enabling her to make contributions to addressing pressing issues in residential overheating and occupant well-being.
Roles: Senior Research Scientist Environment
"I got a seed grant and a postdoctoral fellowship from CAR, which are the first research grants in my career. CAR also offered me a great opportunity to get involved in subcommittees, organize and chair seminar sessions, which helps build up my leadership skills. In addition, I was awarded conference and training grants to attend international conferences and broaden my collaboration network. CAR had a very effective mentoring program, and its investigators are excellent mentors. CAR’s annual meetings were also great events for ECRs to learn from more senior team members. Overall, CAR support is a stepping stone for my career development." Biography Dinh is a Research Fellow in Epidemiology of Lung Health Melbourne School of Population and Global Health, University of Melbourne.
Roles: Senior Research Scientist Environment
"Joining CAR has been transformative for my career. The invaluable resources, cutting-edge research opportunities, and supportive network have propelled my professional growth significantly, leading to both of my NHMRC Emerging Leader Fellowship (EL2) and Early Career Fellowship." Biography Professor Shanshan (Shandy) Li works at School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, Monash University. She is Deputy Head of the Climate, Air Quality Research Unit and Group Leader of Children’s Environmental Health Research, leading an interdisciplinary research team on human health in the context of global environmental change.
Roles: Senior Research Scientist Environment
"Support from CAR, both financially and technically, has helped me in my career progression through numerous ways. One way is through networking among prominent Australian researchers, both inside and outside of CAR. Another way is generating new ideas for research lines, that are of importance politically; in my case, the health impacts of waste-to-energy processes that are of growing importance in Australia and worldwide, for which I produced a position paper, a systematic literature review, a submission to a state waste management strategy review, and an article in The Conversation." Biography Assistant Professor, Department of Public Health, University of Copenhagen; Policy Consultant, World Health Organization; Social Media Editor, Journal of Exposure Science and Environmental Epidemiology.
Roles: Senior Research Scientist Environment
"I began my environmental epi research career journey with as a PhD student with CAR in 2013-2017. My research training and knowledge translation was enabled and enhanced by connecting and working with the CAR collaborators and their students and post-docs. I have been able to contribute to multiple facets beyond my own research projects including contributing to sub-committee activities, organising and presenting at seminars and conferences, writing and reviewing grant applications, providing mentoring, and writing submissions to government enquiries, to name but a few activities and achievements. The support, training, and experiences provided by CAR have enabled me to hold postdoctoral research fellow positions and be awarded with competitive research funding. CAR was instrumental in supporting and shaping my research career and I have found life-long friends, colleagues and mentors who I value most highly. " Biography Rachel Tham is a Research Fellow in the Department of Medicine and the Allergy and Lung Health Unit in the Melbourne School of Population and Global Health, University of Melbourne. She is a NHMRC CRE Centre for Safe Air Postdoctoral Research Fellow, an Honorary at The Royal Melbourne Hospital, and a Clinical Educator (Dentistry) at La Trobe University Rachel Tham is a research fellow at the Department of Medicine, University of Melbourne
Roles: Senior Research Scientist Environment
Yuming Guo is Professor of Global Environmental Health and Biostatistics & Head of the Monash Climate, Air Quality Research (CARE) Unit.
Roles: Senior Research Scientist Environment
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Luke Knibbs is an Associate Professor, Epidemiology and Public Health Data Science, at the School of Public Health and Director, Public Health Research Analytics and Methods for Evidence (PHRAME), at Sydney Local Health District (SLHD).
Roles: Senior Research Scientist Environment
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Director of the WHO Collaborating Centre for Climate Change and Health Impact Assessment and Senior Lecturer in Climate Change and Health, School of Population Health, Curtin University
Roles: Senior Research Scientist Environment
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Jenny is a physician-trained Respiratory and Sleep epidemiologist at the Allergy and Lung Health Unit (ALHU), Centre for Epidemiology and Biostatistics, The University of Melbourne.
Roles: Senior Research Scientist Environment
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Christine Cowie is an environmental epidemiologist and Senior Research Fellow with the UNSW South West Sydney Clinical School and the Woolcock Institute of Medical Research (WIMR).
Roles: Senior Research Scientist Environment