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Opportunity at Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL)

Analysis of Composition of Exhaled Breath and Environmental Contaminants for Human Performance


711 Human Performance Wing, RHX/Human Centered ISR Division

RO# Location
13.15.13.B8427 Wright-Patterson AFB, OH 45433


Name E-mail Phone
Martin, Jennifer Anne 937.938.3788


The Human Signatures Branch of AFRL provides advanced science and technology for the discovery, characterization, and exploitation of unique signatures to protect health and ensure optimal human performance. Exhaled breath is an excellent medium for the study of human signatures due to the range of compounds present reflecting the current human state, and the non-invasive nature of collection causes minimal discomfort or interference with operational requirements. Current research interests include the use of gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) to elucidate differential volatile organic compound (VOC) exhaled breath biomarkers of: (1) performance state (hypoxia, stress, fatigue, etc.), (2) aptitude and training effectiveness, (3) infectious disease, and (4) environmental exposure to toxins. Further interest also lies in using GC-MS to profile various environments, including aerospace air quality and potential sites of toxic or unknown exposures to determine baseline levels at different locations, as well as occupational-specific hazards unique to various USAF career fields. The long-term goal is to use biomarker and environmental contaminant studies to identify existing detection strategies or drive targeted sensor design to develop field-deployable sensing units tailored to specific applications.



Harshman SW, et al: “The Identification of Hypoxia Biomarkers from Exhaled Breath under Normobaric Conditions”. Journal of Breath Research 9: 4, 2015

Pleil J, Smith L, Zelnick S: “Personal Exposure to JP-8 Jet Fuel Vapors and Exhaust at Air Force Bases” 108: 183-192, 2000

Costello B, et al: “A review of the volatiles from the healthy human body”. Journal of Breath Research 8: 2014


Gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS); Human performance; Exhaled breath; Volatile organic compound (VOC); Biomarkers; Differential profiling; Environmental analysis; Chemical exposure;


Citizenship:  Open to U.S. citizens
Level:  Open to Postdoctoral and Senior applicants
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