Jonathan Thornburg

Director of Exposure and Aerosol Technology


  • PhD, Aerosol Physics and Engineering, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • MS, Environmental Engineering, University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • BS, Chemical Engineering, Purdue University

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Jonathan Thornburg, PhD, leads RTI’s Exposure and Aerosol Technology program and has extensive experience studying aerosol science and exposure assessment. He recently led a study to understand the electronic cigarette emissions characteristics and potential for secondhand exposure. The study found electronic cigarette emissions are a mixture of nanometer size particles and vapors. The emissions are composed of the carrier liquid, nicotine, flavorings, and artificial colors. The potential secondhand exposure to electronic cigarette emissions is high because respiratory deposition modeling predicted more than half of the electronic cigarette emissions are exhaled in the air by the user.

Dr. Thornburg’s research program applies aerosol science and exposure science to protect public health from aerosol inhalation exposures and associated adverse health outcomes. This program requires four key areas of expertise to enable this research: (1) development of aerosol exposure instrumentation, (2) aerosol exposure modeling, (3) understanding the physical and chemical properties of aerosols, and (4) understanding aerosol fate and transport, within outdoor and indoor environments. These cornerstones are applied in laboratory and field studies to effectively research the entire exposure-dose-response paradigm.