Research Interests


Dr Nardell’s research interest in airborne infection and its control began with an outbreak of drug resistant TB in a large homeless shelter in Boston in 1983 when he was the TB Control Officer with the City Health Dept. The outbreak demonstrated that 3 dogmas about TB transmission and pathogenesis were untrue, earning publication in the New England J. of Medicine. Despite latent TB infection being common among the homeless, (1) transmission was occurring, (2) INH resistant TB was transmissible, and (3) exogenous reinfection occurred. In an effort to stop transmission Nardell contacted Richard L. Riley, pioneer researcher of TB transmission and UV air disinfection, beginning an 18 year collaboration during his retirement. Together they wrote and published on UV air disinfection together, and envisioned repeating Riley’s famous Baltimore guinea pig air sampling study to prove its efficacy once and for all under rigorous conditions, and to refine its use. With the 1985-1992 resurgence of drug resistant TB in the US, there was renewed interest in this neglected technology. To deal with low modern ceilings, they circulated a design for tightly louvered fixtures to protect room occupants, the basic design in use today. However, in the era of HIV-related MDR and XDR transmission there is a need to adapt this technology for use in resource-limited settings. Toward that end they have re-established Riley’s experimental apparatus near Pretoria, South Africa and have recently demonstrated that upper room UV can be 80% effective in preventing MDR-TB transmission under rigorous testing. Three years ago, another pioneer, Dr. Melvin First, and Nardell established the first international post-graduate course for engineers, architects, and public health workers on design and engineering strategies to prevent airborne infection.