OUR RESEARCH GROUP
The Seto Lab conducts research that aims to quantify and mitigate environmental exposures that are harmful to human health. Our lab focuses on air pollution exposures, however, we also conduct studies related to infectious agents, noise, dietary intake, the built environment, and environmental justice. Our studies employ various methods and technologies, requiring engineering and data science. We invite undergraduate, graduate, and post-doctoral researchers to work on our current projects.
Students interested in joining the group should email me and the group’s lab manager Jeff Shirai (contact info below).
Improving Indoor Air Quality at Homeless Shelters – We are working with Public Health Seattle King County and Washington State Department of Health to improve indoor air quality in homeless shelters, improving resilience to COVID-19, extreme heat and wildfire smoke.
Wildfire Smoke Rule to Protect Outdoor Workers – We are conducting a qualitative/quantitative study on the impacts and possible improvements to the wildfire smoke rule in Washington State.
UW Population Health Initiative COVID-19 Equity Research – We are mapping and assessing the neighborhood-level associations between race/ethnicity, sociodemographic, environmental exposures, and COVID-19 indicators, including case positivity, testing rates, and vaccination.
UW EarthLab Vegetation and Vertical Air Pollution Profiles Study – We are using a large instrumented Matrice unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) drone to collect vertical profile air pollution measurements in different urban environments in the Seattle, WA area to assess the role of vegetation on different sources of air pollution.
NIH ABC Nairobi, Kenya Study – We are assessing household and community air pollution exposures for a pregnant women/birth cohort study of neurodevelopment.
Indoor Air Quality Intervention Studies – Largely unfunded, these are timely and important studies being conducted by students and post-docs in our group to evaluate the role of HEPA air cleaners, box fan filters, and other strategies to reduce exposures and associated health effects from wildfire smoke and other episodic and very high concentration indoor air quality concerns.
NIH Adult Changes in Thought (ACT) Air Pollution Study – We are assessing exposures using a spatial temporal model informed by multi-pollutant low-cost air quality sensors developed by our group and brain aging, Alzheimer’s Disease in the longitudinal ACT cohort. A companion add-on study is also assessing traffic-relate air pollution (TRAP) using mobile monitoring.
NIH TWIN PUWP Study – We are recruiting twin pairs from the Washington State Twin Registry in the Seattle region to use Portable UW Particle (PUWP) personnel exposure monitors and provide biological samples to assess the associations between spatial and temporally resolved, GPS-tracked air pollution exposures and system inflammation.
TWIN COVID-19 Health Impacts Studies – We are analyzing data from an online survey of the members of the Washington State Twin Registry soon after the COVID-19 Stay-at-Home order, and at select times during the pandemic. The survey assesses a variety of outcomes, including mental health, socialization, sleep, etc.
Chengdu, China Modern Mobility Study – We are conducting a panel and crossover study to assess the association between traffic-related air pollution (TRAP) exposure and acute cardiorespiratory outcomes, and the effect of a mini-powered air purifying respirator (mini-PAPR) in reducing the potential health effects for a mix of different mobility/transportation modes.
NIH AIRE Imperial Valley Children’s Asthma Study – We are using a network of community-engaged low-cost PM sensor monitors to assess the associations between PM2.5 and PM10 exposure and asthma symptoms for school-aged children in the Imperial Valley, CA.
CARB AB617 San Ysidro Project – We are using a network of multi-pollutant low-cost air quality sensors to understand air pollution exposures in San Ysidro — a community next to the busiest land border crossing between US-Mexico. The project includes Community-to-Community workshops to assist groups in establishing their community air monitoring.
– – –
RECENT COMPLETED RESEARCH
NIH PRISMS TEMU Study – We developed and tested a personal exposure monitor and Redcap symptom tracking system for children with asthma.
NIH MESA AIR Air Pollution Sensors Study – We collocated multi-pollutant low-cost sensor monitors at government air quality monitoring sites in several cities across the US, and calibrated/validated the sensors. We found that city-specific calibration results in useful sensor data for epidemiological studies.
Washington State Mobile ObserVations of Ultrafine Particles (MOV-UP) Study – We utilized vehicles instrumented with advanced air pollution monitoring instruments to measure and differentiate ultrafine particle concentrations in communities underneath the flight paths of the SeaTac Airport.
NIH Imperial Valley Research-to-Action Study – We designed, developed, and calibrated/validated a network of 40 low-cost PM sensor monitors as part of a community-engaged research partnership in the Imperial Valley, CA. Monitoring informed the greater numbers of air pollution episodes identified by community air monitoring compared to conventional government air monitoring in the valley, and real-time monitoring was used for schools’ asthma flag programs.
Washington Environmental Health Disparities Map – We partnered with Community-based organizations and state and regional environmental agencies to develop a state-wide cumulative environmental impacts mapping tool to guide environmental justice and climate equity policies.
- Remote Health for the cognitive and mental health of the African American communityNew story came out today on the work our group is doing with Dr. Debby Tsuang’s group in the UW Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and the Geriatric Research, Education, and Clinical Center at VA Puget Sound Health Care System to evaluate three different remote/at-home methods of assessing cognitive and mental health of older African Americans, who are at risk of Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative diseases. African American communities are disproportionately impacted by COVID-19,… Continue reading Remote Health for the cognitive and mental health of the African American community
- Serving on the Washington State Environmental Health Disparities Map Technical WorkgroupOur group is continuing to find ways to contribute to environmental justice initiatives in the state. Last week, I started serving on the Technical Workgroup for the WA EHD Map. The WA Environmental Health Disparities Map was led by Front & Centered, developed through listening sessions with community groups, and implemented by various community, governmental and academic groups. Since we’ve published the WA EHD Map, the report, and papers (1, 2), there’s been a push… Continue reading Serving on the Washington State Environmental Health Disparities Map Technical Workgroup
- Documenting the One Roof Foundation and Amazon grants to Seattle-area community organizations for environmental justice and social changeI have recently started working with UW Earthlab and the One Roof Foundation to document the impact of new grants provided to Seattle-area non-profit organizations to advance work towards environmental justice and social change. The One Roof Foundation is a relatively new organization, which serves as the philanthropic arm of the Climate Pledge Arena and Seattle Kraken. Their work focuses on three pillars: youth access to hockey, youth homelessness, and environmental justice. By working with… Continue reading Documenting the One Roof Foundation and Amazon grants to Seattle-area community organizations for environmental justice and social change
- Successful deployment of HEPA air cleaner monitoring in King County Homeless SheltersLast week, our group had our first successful deployment of monitors for a new project aimed at improving air quality at homeless shelters in King County. As part of the efforts of Public Health Seattle King County in deploying thousands of portable HEPA air cleaners to help control the transmission of COVID-19 in congregate settings, we are working together to monitor improvements in air quality over time. Partly public health response and partly research, we… Continue reading Successful deployment of HEPA air cleaner monitoring in King County Homeless Shelters
- 1.35 Million N95 Respirators to Protect Construction Workers in Washington from Wildfire SmokeToday, our group released findings from an analysis of seasonal construction workers and ambient PM2.5 concentrations in Washington State over the last decade (Analysis conducted by Chris Zuidema, pre-print paper, currently in peer-review). The analysis estimates the potential impact of wildfire smoke on exposures to construction workers — a workforce of approximately 200,000 workers in 2020 in Washington. Seasonal trends were observed in the employment data, with more construction workers employed during what have been… Continue reading 1.35 Million N95 Respirators to Protect Construction Workers in Washington from Wildfire Smoke