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.
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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.
- State-Tribal Affairs, thanks for the Government-to-Government TrainingEvery so often, I update various trainings, and last month had the pleasure of attending Government-to-Government training for State-Tribal Affairs. The excellent training was run by the Governor’s Office of Indian Affairs. To learn more about the services provided by the GOIA, including their trainings and connections to State Agency-Tribal Liasons, visit their website here.
- Resources for Developing Community Engaged Research AgreementsCommunity engaged research involving meaningful engagement on environmental justice topics and work conducted collectively by academic, community organizations, and governmental agency partners can benefit from clearly defined relationships established through agreements, memoranda of understanding, or other types of documents. These documents are used to clearly articulate roles and responsibilies and shared values and principles. The agreements often describe issues of governance and project management, such as how decisions are made within the collective, and how… Continue reading Resources for Developing Community Engaged Research Agreements
- HOLC “Redlining” Maps and the Modifiable Area Unit ProblemI’ve been working with PhD Student Shanise Owens to analyze structural racism –historical African American housing descrimination and its association with chronic disease risk in subsequent generations. As part of this work, we are analyzing the Home Owners’ Loan Corporation (HOLC) maps curated and provided by the Mapping Inequality group. Because the historical maps do not align with more recent census geography boundaries, we run into the Modifiable Area Unit Problem, in which decisions must… Continue reading HOLC “Redlining” Maps and the Modifiable Area Unit Problem
- Noise Exposures for Washington and Other StatesThere is great interest in community noise due to environmental justice concerns. In previous studies, we’ve demonstrated the associations between measured urban noise and roadway traffic, and the ability to model urban noise using traffic data in different US cities. In more recent work in Seattle, we’ve demonstrated citizen science process to collect and map high quality noise monitoring data. Mapping noise can be useful in understanding where levels are elevated, but it does not… Continue reading Noise Exposures for Washington and Other States
- 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