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Dr Fraser Torpy graduated with a PhD in 2000, and has held an academic position at UTS since this time. Fraser’s expertise extends across many fields, including air quality, horticultural biotechnology, indoor environmental quality, atmospheric microbiology, experimental design and data analysis, microbial ecology and biochemistry. His primary research focus is the bioremediation of air pollution through both plant and microbially-mediated processes.
Dr Torpy is Director of the Plants and Environmental Quality Research Group, which produced leading research into the role of plants and their associated soil microbiota in the degradation of gaseous and particulate air pollutants, and the carbon dioxide balance of plant–microbial systems as it applies to atmospheric environments. In recent years this research has expanded from indoor environments into the role urban greenspace can play in mitigating outdoor urban pollution. Tangential research involves studying the ecology of airborne fungi in indoor and outdoor urban areas. The team has produced benchmark papers related to the biodegradation of a range of major air pollutants, and attracted several million dollars in research funding.
Dr Torpy is Chair of the School of Life Sciences Honours Committee, and has lectured for 24 years, with a speciality in experimental design and biological data analysis.
Dr Peter Irga is an environmental engineer specialising in the use and value of plants in creating sustainable cities. Peter’s current research interests centre around green infrastructure and climate change mitigation, with a strong emphasis on providing recommendations on plant species choice with respect to ecosystem function (air pollutant reductions, city cooling, thermal insulation, flood tolerance, biodiversity enhancement). This includes currently leading projects on improving the performance of buildings through appropriate green walls and green roof implementation. Dr Irga has the expertise, equipment and capacity to assess and quantify all forms of green wall ecosystem services and has worked with many major international green wall designers and developers.
Together with Dr Fraser Torpy, Dr Irga’s research team is the world’s leading green wall ecosystem service research team, with team currently ranked 1st worldwide for using green walls for the phytoremediation of air pollution ( Based on SciVal Trends, Topic cluster Indoor air; Indoor air pollution; Indoor plants Topic T.37087).