Pettenkofer Gold Medal

The Pettenkofer Gold Medal is awarded triennially at the Indoor Air Conference by the Academy to an individual in recognition of outstanding work in advancing the indoor air sciences. The medal, which is the Academy's highest award, honors Prof. Max von Pettenkofer as the founder of modern hygiene with his pioneering work on CO2 and IAQ.

2022 Awardee
2022 Pettenkofer Award Winner Yuguo LiThe 2022 Pettenkofer Award was given to Dr. Yuguo Li, Professor at the University of Hong Kong, China, in recognition of outstanding scientific contributions towards understanding the transmission of airborne infection diseases and the approaches for reducing the corresponding risks indoors.

Following his PhD study on displacement ventilation in Sweden and investigations of natural ventilation in Australia, Yuguo started his >20 years’ journey of understanding and controlling respiratory infection in buildings after joining the faculty at the University of Hong Kong. Of particular note is his outstanding research work during SARS outbreak in 2003. His work revealed the airborne route of SARS-CoV and the spread during the Amoy Garden outbreak and in a hospital ward in Hong Kong. This finding led him to revisit the classical study of droplet spread by Wells and to investigate how far expired droplets can travel, detailed in his 2007 paper (Indoor Air 2007:17(3),191-204). In 2017, his team first explored the mechanism of the short-range airborne transmission (Indoor air 2017:27 (2),452-462).

During the early phase of the COVID-19 pandemic, his team published their finding of the predominance of short-range exposure over large-droplet transmission between people (Building and Environment 2020:176,106859). In early 2020, his team first reported evidence of airborne transmission in two outbreaks, i.e. in a restaurant in Guangzhou (Building and Environment 2021:196,107788) and two buses in Hunan (Building and Environment 2022:207,108414). Using data of more than 300 outbreaks in China, they found that nearly all transmission of SARS-CoV-2 occurred indoors (Indoor Air 2021:31 (3),639-645).

The detailed investigation of more than twenty SARS-CoV-2 outbreaks has helped Yuguo to define the continuity between short- and long-range transmission, and how ventilation can reduce short-range inhalation exposure (Indoor Air 2022:32 (1),e12946).  In late 2020, he proposed a new categorization of transmission, i.e. inhalation, spray and touch to avoid the confusion in definitions (Indoor Air 2021:31(1), 3-6). His team also identified a unique vertical airborne transmission between flats in high-rise building, i.e. airflow by the chimney effect in the building drainage stack (Annals of Internal Medicine 2020:173(12), 974-980, Journal of Hazardous Materials 2022:421,126799), and the cross-corridor horizontal transmission between flats on the same floor.

His work on infection transmission led to Yuguo serving on many committees and in an advisory role both locally and internationally. In 2008-2009 he served as advisor on the WHO guideline for using natural ventilation for infection control. Since 2013, he has been member of Scientific Committee on Infection Control of the Centre for Health Protection, Department of Health, Hong Kong. He has been member of the committee draft Position Document on Infectious Aerosols for ASHRAE (American Society for Heating and Air-Conditioning Engineers) and since 2020 member and co-chair of many working and advisory groups organized by WHO in connection with SARS-CoV-2 pandemic.

Prof. Yuguo Li is a leading world expert on airborne infection transmission and an outstanding scientist. He was many times awarded for his work. For example in the last two years he received six awards, among others the Medal of Honor by the Hong Kong Government in 2021, and the Guanghua Engineering Science and Technology Prize in 2022, one of the highest awards in the field of Engineering Science and Technology in China. ASHRAE awarded him for his contributions to science through the Louise and Bill Holladay Distinguished Fellow award in 2021 and the Donald Bahnfleth Environmental Health Award in 2022. In 2022 he became an Honorable Member of SHASE, the Japanese Society of Heating, Air-Conditioning and Sanitary Engineers. Among his many achievements he supervised 26 PhD students and published >300 peer-reviewed papers. His citation is >27,000 with h index of 80 (google scholar).

Yuguo was the President of Indoor Air 2014, and the President of the Academy of Fellows of International Society of Indoor Air Quality (ISIAQ) from 2016 to 2018. He has been Editor-in-Chief of Indoor Air Journal since 2018 now with IF of 5.77.

Indoor Air 2022Professor Yuguo Li (China) 
Indoor Air 2020       Professor Tunga Salthammer (Germany)   
Indoor Air 2018        Professor William Nazaroff (USA)   
Indoor Air 2016Professor Shin-Ichi Tanabe (Japan)
Indoor Air 2014    Professor Charles Weschler (USA)
Indoor Air 2011  Professor Jan Sundell (China)
Indoor Air 2008  Professor John D. Spengler (USA)
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