Grinshpun closely watching war in his native Ukraine

Like most Ukrainians around the world, Sergey Grinshpun, PhD, and his family have been glued to their televisions and the internet for the latest news on the ongoing war in Ukraine.

“Between the TV and the internet and numerous telephone conversations, we try to find out what is happening on an hourly basis over the past five days and nights,” Grinshpun says. “So far, everyone is relatively safe among our friends and relatives. No one is wounded or killed, but psychologically, they are affected as their beautiful cities have been turned into war zones. It’s absolutely unimaginable.”

Grinshpun, a professor in the Department of Environmental and Public Health Sciences, has relatives in Kiev and Odessa and many good friends throughout Ukraine. Fortunately, he and his wife, Victoria Appatova, PhD, a professor at UC Clermont, have managed to remain in close contact with everyone via telephone calls, which sometimes get interrupted or suffer poor connections, and via social media apps, such as WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and Viber.

“We talk with them when they are in bomb shelters and when they are coming out of bomb shelters. Some of them are fighting at the front line,” he says.

Grinshpun was raised in Odessa, a port city on the Black Sea in southwestern Ukraine and the third largest city in the country. His family has lived there for generations. He began working at the University of Odessa after receiving his doctorate in thermophysics and aerosol science there. Ukraine was one of the members of the Soviet Union when in 1990 efforts began for its independence. With the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, Ukrainians voted for independence in December 1991.

In February 1991, Grinshpun, his wife, and 3-year-old daughter, Sasha, left Odessa for Cincinnati, where he had been offered a visiting professorship in the Department of Environmental Health. The yearlong professorship was later extended and then Klaus Willeke, PhD, UC professor of environmental health, who created and led the Aerosol Research and Exposure Assessment Laboratory, offered Grinshpun a permanent faculty position. Grinshpun accepted and since 2000 has been a full professor and the founding director of the Center for Health-Related Aerosol Studies.

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