Keynote Speakers

Macquarie University, Australia

Paul Beggs

TOPIC: Aerobiology in 2050: what we know and a vision for filling in the gaps

Paul is an Associate Professor in the School of Natural Sciences at Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia. He is the Director of the Lancet Countdown Oceania Regional Centre, which tracks progress on health and climate change in this region. An environmental health scientist with a background in biological and climate sciences, he is an international authority on the impacts of climate change on allergens and allergic diseases. He previously won the Eureka Prize for Medical Research for his ground-breaking work in this area, and in 2023 he was presented with the Public Health Association of Australia Tony McMichael Public Health Ecology and Environment Award. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Meteorological Society in 2023.

Aerobiological knowledge has increased substantially since the mid-1900s. Building on this solid foundation, the field of aerobiology is currently going through a multifaceted revolution. With regard to pollen aerobiology, this includes the technological transition to automated real-time monitoring, remote sensing of source regions, environmental DNA identification of airborne pollen, the development of sophisticated modelling and forecasting systems, and digital health applications. Some of the benefits and advances of these include more-detailed aerobiological data (finer taxonomic levels and temporal scales), broader geographic coverage, and more immediate, accessible and personalised pollen information for self-management of allergic respiratory diseases. Despite this revolution, there remain major gaps that the international aerobiological community should aim to fill over the coming years. Perhaps the biggest is the lack of knowledge about the aerobiology of several regions of the world. The establishment of an international network of aerobiological monitoring with coordination, cooperation, and data sharing facilitated perhaps through a United Nations organisation (e.g., WMO, UNEP) would go a long way to rectifying this current inequity.