Davidson Fellows - 2012 Fellow Naomi Shah


Naomi Shah

$25,000 Scholarship Recipient

Age: 17
Portland, OR
Category: Science
Project Title: “An Experimental Study of the Impact of Airborne Pollutants on the Peak Expiratory Flow (PEF) Rate of Asthmatic Subjects PLUS A Novel Risk Assessment Model to Predict the Adverse Effect of PM10 and TVOCs on the PEF Rate of Asthmatic Patients.”


Noticing that her father and brother suffered from allergies persisting well past the pollen season, Naomi researched other sources of inflammatory triggers. Her research focused on quantifying the impact of environmental pollutants on human health, specifically the impact of indoor airborne pollutants on the lung health of asthmatic patients. The preliminary goal was to determine which sources of pollutants had the largest negative impact on the Peak Expiratory Flow rate (PEFR), or lung health. Subsequently, she developed a mathematical model to uniquely quantify the impact to make current medical treatment and environmental remediation more targeted. To remove the most harmful particulates and volatile organic compounds (VOCs), Naomi developed a biofilter that can be integrated into a central Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) system. The goal for the biofilter was to make it efficient, sustainable, and inexpensive to make clean air accessible for everyone.

We spend over 90% of our time indoors and are constantly exposed to pollutants that trigger respiratory and other disorders. Over 1.2 million people die due to poor indoor air quality each year and the economic burden of asthma exceeds that of HIV and Tuberculosis combined. Naomi’s project quantifies the impact of environmental pollutants on human lung health which hasn't been done before. Furthermore, the goal for the biofilter is to provide an affordable, sustainable means to clean indoor air pollution before it enters an indoor environment by integrating it into a central HVAC system. Instead of focusing on developing new drugs and inhaler treatments, this research aims to eradicate asthma and other respiratory disorders from the root by remediating indoor air.

Naomi was the inaugural first place winner of the Google Science Fair, has been invited to present at TEDxWomen and participated in the Research Science Institute (RSI) at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) this summer. She is an incoming senior at Sunset High School.

Click the links below to view hi-res photos of Naomi:

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Click here to view the full listing of the 2012 Davidson Fellows. 
Click here to view Naomi's press release.

For all media inquiries, please contact DavidsonFellowsMedia@davidsongifted.org

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