Research Interests of Dr. Estelle Levetin


The research in my laboratory is largely in the field of Aerobiology, often considered the "microbiology" of the atmosphere. Aerobiology is the study of the movement of biological particles (bioaerosols) or products of organisms within the atmosphere or the indoor environment. By its very nature, the field of aerobiology is interdisciplinary with meteorology and aerosol physics at its core and with applications in the fields of agriculture, plant pathology, allergy, public health, immunology, palynology, biochemistry, and microbiology. Within the field of aerobiology, my research has been focused on the study of airborne allergens.

On-going aerobiology projects in my lab can be grouped in the following areas:

Outdoor aerobiology of spores and pollen with an emphasis on the influence of wind on the long-distance transport of allergenic pollen and also the influence of meteorological factors on the atmospheric concentration of ascospores, basidiospores and smut spores. We are also examining the long term changes in airborne pollen and spores over time to detect any influence due to climate change

Post-Katrina changes in the airborne pollen and spores in New Orleans, Louisiana

Fungal allergens in the indoor environment with an emphasis on those groups of fungi that have been poorly studied

Genetic analysis of Aspergillus fumigatus isolates

Conifer pollen allergens - I have had an ongoing interest in conifer pollen allergens for the past 28 years. Mountain cedar (Juniperus ashei) pollen is one of the most potent allergens in the United States. Populations of mountain cedar occur in south central Oklahoma and Texas. Although none occur within 200 miles of Tulsa, my lab has presented evidence for significant concentrations of mountain cedar pollen being carried to Tulsa by prevailing southerly winds. Research in my lab has also focused on the identification of the specific allergenic proteins in mountain cedar pollen and related species of conifers. We have been forecasting the movement of Juniperus ashei pollen from source areas since 1998. We are beginning a new four year study on cedar pollen forecasting this summer (July 2009) entitled "Integration of Airborne Aerosol Prediction Systems and Vegetation Phenology toTrack Pollen for Asthma Alerts in Public Health Decision Support Systems." This project will focus on several allergenically important species of Juniperus in the Oklahoma, Texas, and New Mexico area


Burch, M. and E. Levetin 2002. Effects of Meteorological Conditions on Spore Plumes. Int. J. Biometeorol, 46:107-117.

Levetin, E. and P. Van de Water. 2003. Pollen Count Forecasting. Immunology and Allergy Clinics of North America Vol 23 (3): 423-442.

Van de Water, P. , C.E. Main, T. Keever, and E. Levetin. 2003. An Assessment of Predictive Forecasting Juniperus ashei Pollen Movement in the Southern Great Plains. International Journal of Biometeorology 48: 74-82.

Newhouse, C and E. Levetin. Correlation of Environmental Factors with Asthma and Rhinitis Symptoms in Tulsa, OK. Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol 92: 356-366.

Levetin, E. and K. Dorsey. 2006. Contribution of Leaf Surface Fungi to the Air Spora. Aerobiologia, 22: 3-12.

Horner, W.E., C. Barnes, R. Codina, E. Levetin. 2008. Guide for interpreting reports from inspections / investigations of indoor mold. Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology Vol 121: 592-597.

Khattab, A and E. Levetin. 2008. Preliminary Studies on the Effect of the Burkard Alternate Orifice on Airborne Fungal Spore Concentrations. Aerobiologia 24: 165-171.

Khattab, A and E. Levetin. 2008. Effect of Sampling Height on the Concentration of Airborne Fungal Spores. Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology 101: 529-534.

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