OUR MISSION

Our goal is to improve the lives of all people, in all buildings, everywhere, every day. We see health as the primary motivator for action.

OUR APPROACH BUILDINGOMICS

OUR APPROACH BUILDINGOMICS

The Healthy Buildings Team created the 9 Foundations of a Healthy Building as a standardized, holistic approach to understanding how buildings impact the people inside them. In any indoor space - offices, homes, schools, airplanes - these foundations can be assessed via Health Performance Indicators, or HPIs. Derived from the business term Key Performance Indicators, HPIs are metrics that provide insight into how a building is performing.

 

By tracking HPIs on all 9 Foundations of the built environment, we can discover how to optimize buildings for health. We call this "Buildingomics": the totality of factors in the built environment that influence human health, well-being and productivity of people who work in those buildings.

MEET THE TEAM

JOSEPH ALLEN, DSC, MPH, CIH

Director

Dr. Joseph Allen is the Director of the Healthy Buildings Program at the Harvard Center for Health and the Global Environment.

He joined the Harvard faculty in 2014 as Assistant Professor of Exposure Assessment Sciences in the Department of Environmental Health at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, where he researches community and occupational exposures and health risks related to a broad range of chemical, biological, physical and radiological stressors. In particular, he focuses on the built environment, emissions from building materials and consumer products, and building system performance, each of which has the potential for both positive and negative impacts on human health, well-being and productivity.

Dr. Allen has led exposure and health investigations in several hundred buildings across a diverse range of industries, including health care, biotechnology, education (primary schools and higher education), commercial office real estate and manufacturing. He presents internationally on the topic of “Healthy Buildings”, and his work has been featured widely in the popular press, including the Wall Street Journal, Time, NPR, Newsweek, Washington Post, and Fortune. He earned his Doctor of Science (DSc) and Master of Public Health (MPH) degrees from the Boston University School of Public Health, and a Bachelor of Science (BS) degree in Biology from Boston College. (full bio)

PIERS MACNAUGHTON, ScD

Project Manager

Dr. Piers MacNaughton is an Associate Director of the Healthy Buildings Program.

His research focuses on the influence of the built environment on health. Presently, he manages The CogFx Study, which investigates the link between green buildings, health, and productivity in commercial offices. In collaboration with architects, designers, property owners, building mangers and researchers, he works on applying the findings of this research to the U.S. building stock to promote healthier work environments. He has also led projects in residential and academic settings, investigating a wide range of exposures and their health impacts.

Dr. MacNaughton graduated from Tufts University in 2012 with a degree in environmental engineering. He went straight on to a Master's program in environmental health at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. He recently completed his doctoral degree with his advisor, Dr. Joseph Allen, who is the Program Director for the Healthy Buildings Program at the Center for Health and the Global Environment.

MEMO CEDENO LAURENT, ScD

Program Leader, Energy Efficiency and Carbon Mitigation Technologies

Dr. Jose Guillermo (Memo) Cedeno Laurent is an Associate Director of the Healthy Buildings Program.

Memo's research interests include indoor environmental quality and health, the built environment and sleep quality, and environmental sensor networks. Currently, Memo is coordinating the Center's research efforts on exposure to chemicals and health through the Marilyn Hoffman Program, which aims to advance our understanding of the health consequences of chemicals and other toxins, especially among vulnerable populations.

Memo holds a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Monterrey Tech and worked in the automotive industry in both Mexico and Germany. Memo then received a M.S. degree in Energy Engineering from Aachen University, in Germany. While in Germany, he wrote his master's thesis on novel carbon dioxide capture methods at the Institute of Energy and Climate Research at the Juelich Research Center. In 2014, he graduated from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health with a Sc.D. degree in Environmental Health, under the mentorship of the Center's Director, Dr. John D. Spengler.

ERIKA SITA EITLAND, MPH

Program Leader, Schools For Health

Erika Eitland works in the Healthy Buildings Program as the program leader for Healthy Schools.

Erika's research focuses on the impact K-12 schools buildings have on student and teacher health in the United States. Using exposure assessment science tools, Erika explores the role of school facilities and the surrounding environmental and social context. She is deeply interested in creating tools that translate scientific research findings into user-friendly information that promote short and long-term success of students. Previously, her research has focused on climate change, food access, low-income housing, and gender inequality.

Erika holds a B.S. in Molecular and Cell Biology from the University of Connecticut and MPH in Environmental Health Sciences from Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health. Erika is a 2nd Year Doctoral Student in the Department of Environmental Health at the T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

XIADONG CAO, PhD

Post-Doctoral Fellow

Dr. Xiaodong Cao works in the Healthy Buildings program as a postdoctoral fellow, at the Harvard Center for Health and the Global Environment.

His research interests mainly include aircraft cabin environment, particle image velocimetry (PIV) measurement, indoor air distributions, daylighting simulation and building energy performance. Presently, Xiaodong is working on the risk assessment of radon exposure in built environment and global green building study. He is also taking part in the Center's research efforts on the co-benefits of green building movements, sentiment analysis based on social media, and influence of ventilation on indoor environmental quality and occupant health. His publications can be found at https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Xiaodong_Cao3.

Xiaodong holds a B. Eng. degree in Building Environment from Tianjin University. As a top 5 engineering university in China, Tianjin University provided him a through education and fired up his enthusiasm in further research on green built environment. In 2016, he received his doctoral degree in Heating, Ventilation and Air-conditioning (HVAC) in the Tianjin Key Lab of Indoor Air Environmental Quality Control, Tianjin University. He also received a state scholarship fund to be a one-year visiting Ph. D. student at Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) in Australia from 2014 to 2015.

EMMA PRESTON, PhD

Post-Doctoral Fellow

Dr. Preston’s research focuses on exposure to consumer product chemicals in the indoor environment.

She is particularly interested in exposure reduction strategies, complex chemical mixtures, and their associated health effects, especially in vulnerable populations. Dr. Preston holds an A.B. in Environmental Studies from Dartmouth College and an M.P.H. in Global Environmental Health from Emory University Rollins School of Public Health. She completed her Ph.D. in Environmental Health at the Boston University School of Public Health, where she studied the effects of exposure to consumer product chemicals on human thyroid function.

SKYE FLANIGAN, MS

Research Coordinator

Skye Flanigan is the Research Coordinator for the Healthy Buildings program and Program Manager at the Center for Health and the Global Environment.

Skye has a background in environmental consulting, international finance, hospitality, and event planning for innovation communities. Since joining the team in 2014, she has coordinated numerous research studies and events for the group. In May 2016, Skye received her Master's degree from Harvard in Sustainability and Environmental Management with a focus on Environmental Health. Previously, Skye received her Bachelor of Science in International Business from the Daniels College of Business at the University of Denver.

EMILY GILSON, MSE

PhD Student

Emily Gilson is a doctoral student in the Population Health Sciences program at Harvard’s Graduate School of Arts and Sciences where her coursework and research focus on environmental health and epidemiology.

Before coming to Harvard, she worked as an environmental consultant specializing in groundwater remediation and environmental data science. She also has experience performing research into different aspects of environmental fate and transport, including greenhouse gas dynamics in wetlands, stability and speciation of metals in wetlands with implications for bioremediation, and environmental functions of bacteria. She earned her Master of Science in Engineering (MSE) degree from Princeton University’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering in 2015 and her Bachelor of Science (BS) degree in Environmental Sciences from the University of California, Berkeley in 2013.

NASTARAN ARFAEI, March

Research Fellow

Nastaran Arfaei is a researcher and augmented reality/virtual reality developer in the Healthy Buildings program.

She explores the effects of different elements of built environment on human health and behavior, often with the application of Virtual and augmented reality. Nastaran has a background in architecture with an M.Arch from Harvard GSD as well as experience in research in psychology and cognitive science lab. At the intersection of design, technology and science, she aims to study environmental health with an interdisciplinary approach. She is involved with several projects which include use of virtual reality for understanding effects of biophilic design and real time visualization of environmental data.

JOSE VALLARINO

Engineer

Jose Vallarino is an research engineer at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

He has provided technical and logistical support for exposure assessment research projects for over 20 years. He consults with researchers on the selection and/or design of exposure assessment tools used for research and provides guidance on Institutional Review Board requirements of research projects. He serves as the Quality Assurance Officer for two large exposure assessment research centers.

AUGUSTA WILLIAMS, MS

Doctoral Candidate

Augusta Williams is a doctoral student at the Harvard Chan School of Public Health in the Department of Environmental Health.

Her research focuses on the influence of the built environment on human exposure to extreme heat and the resulting health and cognitive effects of these exposures. She is presently working with Dr. Cedeno to investigate the impact of extreme heat on the health, comfort, sleep, and cognitive function of college-aged students and low-income seniors. Augusta graduated from Hobart and William Smith Colleges in 2013 with a degree in biology and atmospheric sciences and completed her Master of Public Health degree with a concentration in Climate and Health from Columbia University in 2015. She is currently advised in her ScD program by Dr. John Spengler, Director the Harvard University Center for Health and the Global Environment.

DEBORAH DONNELLY-MCCLAY

Research Assistant

Deborah Donnelly-McLay works in the Healthy Buildings program as a researcher in Aviation Health.

Deborah has been involved in the aviation industry for over 25 years. She is currently an international Boeing 767 airline Captain with United Parcel Service. Her background and experience in aviation include many diverse roles, including: Flight Attendant, FAA Certified Flight and Ground Instructor, FAA Certified Check Airman, Flight Simulator Instructor, Flight Engineer, LOSA Observer and Airline Transport Pilot.

Deborah has earned a Master's Degree in Aeronautical Science from Embry Riddle Aeronautical University. She is currently terminating a second Master's Degree from Harvard University and a Doctorate in Education. Deborah has been able to utilize her experience and education in aviation to collaborate on the Harvard Pilot Health Survey and other research involving aviation and health issues.

DREW MICHANOWICZ, PHD

Postdoctoral Fellow

Drew Michanowicz is a postdoctoral research fellow with the Climate, Energy, and Health program at the Center for Health and the Global Environment.

In collaboration with Sensors for Health, Dr. Michanowicz is leading development of a 3D air quality monitoring drone using new gas sensing technologies that can be deployed in spaces previously inaccessible to traditional sampling methods. Drew received both a Master and Doctor of Public Health from the University of Pittsburgh's Graduate School of Public Health.

PEGGY LAI, MD MPH

Research Associate

Dr. Peggy Lai is an assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, and in the Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital.

Dr. Lai is trained as a pulmonary physician and an environmental epidemiologist using 'omics to better understand the relationship between indoor air pollution and chronic lung diseases such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) in children and adults. She has previously worked as a clinician in countries such as Guatemala, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Madagascar, and Uganda providing care to patients in resource limited settings. She currently conducts research on indoor air pollution and lung health in Boston, Shanghai, and Mbarara, Uganda. The main focus of Dr. Lai's research group is on how environmental microbiota interacts with human microbiota to cause disease or maintain lung health, and also on the contribution of lighting to household air pollution in resource limited settings.

ALEX WU

Doctoral Candidate

Alexander Wu is a Doctoral Student in the Department of Environmental Health at the T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

He works in the Airline Pilot Health Study with a focus on depression and suicidal thoughts. His research centers on describing commercial airline pilot mental health and evaluating biomarkers of heavy metal exposure and depression. Other interests include health effects of noise exposure, health policy, urban planning, and agricultural safety and health. Mr. Wu received a B.S. in Neuroscience and a MPH in Global Health Promotion and Environmental Health from Brigham Young University. He has worked at the University of Texas M.D. Andersen Cancer Center as a research assistant in the pharmacology lab evaluating novel cancer drugs. He has also worked for the Utah Department of Health, drafting policy documents on tobacco control for Utah policy makers, and as an environmental epidemiologist drafting public health assessments on Superfund sites and health assessments on environmental exposures.

ANNA YOUNG

Masters Student

Anna Young works as a researcher at the Center for Health and the Global Environment.

Anna's research interests include occupational exposures that affect reproductive health. Through the support of the Hoffman Program, she is involved in research projects on exposures of nail salon workers to chemicals with reproductive toxicity and a separate study examining the intersection between indoor environmental quality, sleep quality, and health. Anna graduated from Yale University in 2016 with a B.A. in environmental studies and computer science. She is currently pursuing a Master of Science degree in environmental health, with a concentration in occupational hygiene, at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

JIE YIN, SM, MUP

PhD Student

Jie Yin is a doctoral student in the Population Health Sciences program at Harvard Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, focusing on Environmental Health.

Jie’s research interests lie in the cross-disciplinary field of urban planning and public health, including assessing the health impacts of biophilic design and environmental health risk factors shaped by urban planning and policy. Before coming to Harvard, he spent eight years working on eco-city theory and rural sustainable development at Tongji University and Shanghai Tongji Urban Planning & Design Institute. As a certified urban planner in China, Jie has led several award-winning projects on environmental planning, urban/rural design, land-use planning and community design. Jie holds a Master of Science degree in Environmental Health from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and a Master of Urban Planning degree from Tongji University.

DIANA CEBALLOS, PHD

JPB Environmental Health Fellow

Dr. Diana Ceballos works with the Chemicals and Health Hoffman Program team at the Center for Health and the Global Environment.

Her research interests are in exposure assessment to complex chemical mixtures to determine effects on human health, especially as they pertain to vulnerable populations and emerging technologies. Diana co-leads a Hoffman pilot longitudinal epidemiological study in student nurses to assess the effect of chemical exposures and stress on chronic health conditions such as environmental sensitivities. She also leads a Harvard NIEHS Center for Environmental Health pilot study on nail salon workers to assess exposures to reproductive toxic chemicals.

Diana received her doctoral degree in Environmental and Occupational Hygiene from the University of Washington, Seattle, Washington; her dissertation work included developing a new method to test the protective efficacy of gloves against isocyanate paints used by spray painters. Diana also holds a Master of Science in Atmospheric Chemistry from the University of Nevada, Reno, Nevada, and a Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering from the Universidad Pontificia Bolivariana, Medellin, Colombia. She is also a Certified Industrial Hygienist from the American Board of Industrial Hygiene.

Skylar Klager

Masters Student

Nate Dieudonne

Researcher

Xi Zhang

Visiting Scholar

Olivia Leach, MPH

Data Visualization

Lacey Klingensmith, MS

Researcher

Sepideh Pakpour, PhD

Postdoctoral Fellow

Nicole Kocher-Romanowski

Engineer

Zhao Dong, ScD

Postdoctoral Fellow

Julie M. Goodman, PhD

Research Associate

Catherine Le

Design Intern

Emily Schwartz

Research Intern