Dr. Joshua Vande Hey

NERC Knowledge Exchange Fellow in Aerosols and Health


Joshua Vande Hey


Air quality affects human health worldwide, not only in urban areas but also in agricultural regions and in places where local physical geography intensifies pollution levels.  Here in the UK it has been estimated by the Air Quality Management Resource Centre that annual healthcare costs resulting from the effects of poor air quality are in the vicinity of £20 billion; to put this into perspective we can compare this to the estimated £10.7 billion resulting from insufficient levels of physical exercise (HoCEAC, 2011).  By improving our understanding of the sources, sinks, transport, and chemistry of various pollutants, we can better manage our air quality.  Knowledge of where emissions come from and where they go can be gained through an integrated approach involving remote sensing, in situ sensing, and modelling.  This knowledge can then be used to inform our approach to planning, to monitor our compliance to emissions standards, and to modify our behaviour as individuals in order to improve our health and the health of the environment around us.



My Research


I am an engineer working in the atmospheric sciences with a strong interest in aerosols.  I am currently funded by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) on a Knowledge Exchange Fellowship entitled "Aerosol Science for Public Health and Public Policy through Commercial Avenues".  There are three main aspects of this work.

  • First, I am working with Jonathan Tedds and colleagues in Health Sciences at Leicester to develop demonstrations of integrated particulates exposure with health metrics datasets using the BRISSKit health data integration and management platform.  These datasets will form the basis for discussions with health research to identify areas of greatest need for integrated data tools from a health research perspective, and this information will be fed back to the atmospheric science community through links with the National Centre for Atmospheric Science (NCAS), and the National Centre for Earth Observation (NCEO).
  • Second, I am scoping the potential for efficient, sustainable commercial solutions for delivery of health-linked environmental data to government and the public, and identifying commercial partners well-positioned to contribute to the development of tools that can help authorities assess and then manage risks around personal exposure through effective planning and mitigation measures.
  • Finally, I am evaluating from a systems engineering perspective the feasibility of data fusion systems for integrating existing and new data from a wide variety sensors, models, and satellites to provide high quality, high resolution data to inform citizens and policy makers on day to day and long term decisions relating to exposure to particulates.


Other Research Interests

I am also interested in relating the physical and chemical properties of aerosols to their optical properties through measurement and retrieval techniques.  I am particularly interested developing low-cost optical sensors that can be widely deployed for atmospheric profiling of aerosol properties, along with developing applications for data from such sensors.  The aim of this work is to increase observational coverage and promote the use of local data, particularly in regions with where the infrastructure for environmental monitoring is currently underdeveloped.  I am interested in optical / mechanical design, development of automated signal processing algorithms, integration of complementary sensors into suites of instrumentation, validation methods for evaluation of models and retrieval algorithms, and development of techniques for characterising measurement uncertainty.


Previous Work

I joined the University of Leicester in 2013 as a PiKT (Partnership in Knowledge Transfer) Associate in Airborne Instrumentation, working closely with Bluesky International, Ltd., to develop two airborne remote sensing instruments for operational commercial deployment: the Airborne Air Quality Mapper (AAQM) for aerial surveying of NO2 levels and the NightSky Mapper, an aerial imaging system for characterising light pollution. This research was supported by the European Regional Development Fund. Before joining the University of Leicester I conducted my PhD research in optical engineering in the Wolfson School of Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering at Loughborough University.  This work emerged from a collaboration with Campbell Scientific, Ltd. on the development of the CS135 low-cost lidar ceilometer for cloud base height and boundary layer aerosol backscatter retrieval on a project I first joined through a TSB Knowledge Transfer Partnership in 2007.  Prior to that I implemented a range of optical systems for characterisation of semiconductor lasers at Alfalight, Inc., following completion of a B.A. in physics at Lawrence University, Appleton, WI, USA, in 2001.



A. Papayannis, A. Argyrouli, A. Bougiatioti, E. Remoundaki, S. Vratolis, A. Nenes, S. Solomos, M. Komppula, E. Giannakaki, J. Kalogiros, R. Banks, K. Eleftheriadis, E. Mantas, E. Diapouli, C.G. Tzanis, S. Kazadzis, I. Binietoglou, L. Labzovskii, J. Vande Hey, C.S. Zerefos, "From hygroscopic aerosols to cloud droplets: The HygrA-CD campaign in the Athens basin — An overview," Science of The Total Environment, Volume 574, 1 January 2017, Pages 216-233, ISSN 0048-9697.

A. Papayannis , A. Argyrouli, A. Nenes, J. Vande Hey, M. Komppula, P. Kokkalis, S. Solomos, R. F. Banks, L. Labzovskii, I. Kalogiros, E. Giannakaki, "Chapter: From Hygroscopic Aerosols to Cloud Droplets: The HygrA-CD Campaign in the Athens Basin—An Overview", Book Title: Perspectives on Atmospheric Sciences, pp 781-787, 2017, Print ISBN 978-3-319-35094-3, Online ISBN 978-3-319-35095-0, Series Title: Springer Atmospheric Sciences, Springer International Publishing.

Vogel, L., Vande Hey, J., Faria, S.H., Spadaro, J.V.: "Health impacts of atmospheric pollution in a changing climate," Basque Centre for Climate Change BC3 Working Paper Series, Issue 2015-03, 2015.

Lawrence, J. P., Anand, J. S., Vande Hey, J. D., White, J., Leigh, R. R., Monks, P. S., and Leigh, R. J.: "High-resolution measurements from the airborne Atmospheric Nitrogen Dioxide Imager (ANDI)," Atmos. Meas. Tech., 8, 4735–4754, doi:10.5194/amt-8-4735-2015, 2015.

Madonna, F., Amato, F., Vande Hey, J., and Pappalardo, G.: "Ceilometer aerosol profiling versus Raman lidar in the frame of the INTERACT campaign of ACTRIS," Atmos. Meas. Tech., 8, 2207-2223, doi:10.5194/amt-8-2207-2015, 2015.

A Novel Lidar Ceilometer: Design, Implementation and Characterisation. Springer Theses, ISBN: 978-3-319-12612-8 (Print) 978-3-319-12613-5 (Online), Springer International Publishing, 2015.

J. Vande Hey, J. Agnew, J. Richards, R. Dhillon, M. Brettle, "Comparison of mixing layer height retrieved by ceilometer and Doppler lidar," Proceedings of 21st Symposium on Boundary Layers and Turbulence, AMS, June 2014.

PhD thesis, Loughborough University, March 2013.  Design, Implementation, and Characterisation of a Novel Lidar Ceilometer.

J. VandeHey, J. Coupland, J. Richards, A. Sandford, "Design and implementation of a divided-lens lidar ceilometer prototype for manufacture," Geoscience and Remote Sensing Symposium (IGARSS), 2012 IEEE International, pp.5002-5005, 22-27 July 2012.

J. Vande Hey, J. Coupland, M. Foo, J. Richards, and A. Sandford, “Determination of overlap in lidar systems," Appl. Opt. 50, 5791-5797, 2011.








Media Links

NERC Planet Earth Podcast on nighttime aerial imaging.



European ACTRIS (Aerosols, Clouds and Trace Gases Research InfraStructure Network) Trans-National Access Grant, April, 2013.  This grant covered expenses for travel to CNR-IMAA Observatory in Potenza, Italy for collaboration and training during summer 2013.


Professional Societies

Optical Society of America

Royal Meteorological Society

IEEE GRSS (Geoscience & Remote Sensing Society)

IEEE SPS (Signal Processing Society)

IEEE WIE (Women in Engineering Society)



Springer Theses Award 2014


Contact Information

Joshua Vande Hey

Earth Observation Science Group

Department of Physics and Astronomy

University of Leicester

Leicester, UK

Tel: +44 (0) 116 229 7721

Email: jvh7@le.ac.uk

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