Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences Dedman College Research Faculty News Mathematics

SMU professor receives NSF grant to model transport of microscale respiratory droplets

December 4, 2020
Contact: Vladimir Ajaev, Principal Investigator,

Vladimir Ajaev, Principal Investigator

Dallas, TX – SMU Department of Mathematics professor Vladimir Ajaev has been awarded a National Science Foundation (NSF) grant to develop mathematical models describing the spread of diseases through tiny droplets formed in the respiratory airways. The project focus is on the transmission of tuberculosis however its broader societal impacts include potential applications to other infectious diseases such as influenza and COVID-19.

“Infectious diseases transmitted by tiny droplets of respiratory fluids affect tens of millions of people worldwide. Better understanding of the mechanism of transmission of infections can lead to improvements in both treatment and protection strategies,” says Vladimir Ajaev, principal investigator.

The project will include a multiscale framework that investigates the dynamics of an individual evaporating droplet as it travels through air and inside the airways. The results will then be incorporated into a global model of transport and interaction of multiple droplets.

“We are excited to have graduate and undergraduate students participating in our research efforts,” adds Ajaev. “They will have a unique opportunity to contribute to these important areas of research using their mathematical skills and to interact with top biomedical experts.”

To read more about NSF and the project description, click here.


The SMU Department of Mathematics is one of sixteen academic departments in the Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences. If you would like to learn more about the Department of Mathematics, click here.