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.



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.




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)


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.


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.


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.


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, PIV measurements, indoor air distribution, daylighting simulations and energy performance in built environment. Presently, Xiaodong is working on the risk assessment of radon exposure in built environment. 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 health.

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.


Research Coordinator

Skye Flanigan is the Research Coordinator for the Healthy Buildings program 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 used this experience in coordinating research projects, teams and events in 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.


Research Associate

Dr. Julie Goodman joined the Healthy Buildings team in 2016 and is contributing to research on the impact of indoor environmental quality on cognitive function and mental and emotional health.

She studied brain mechanisms of memory and executive function in disorders of mental health using functional MRI at the Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging at MGH for almost ten years before moving to Harvard University, where she served as Administrative Director for Neuroimaging in the Center for Brain Sciences. With a growing interest in environmental health and sustainability, she worked as a strategic outreach volunteer for the Union of Concerned Scientists, and as a program evaluation intern for the Earthwatch Institute. In 2011 she became the Center Coordinator for the Harvard-NIEHS Center for Environmental Health at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

Julie has a BS in Psychology & Biology from Tufts University, a M.A. in Psychobiology from Emory University and a Ph.D. in Behavioral Neuroscience from Boston University School of Medicine. Julie has a B.S. in Psychology & Biology from Tufts University, a M.A. in Psychobiology from Emory University and a Ph.D. in Behavioral Neuroscience from Boston University School of Medicine.



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.


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.


Postdoctoral Fellow

Dr. Zhao Dong is currently doing research and managing projects on chemicals and health.

She is interested in the role of gut microbiome and childhood adversity and their interaction with environmental chemical exposures, and how they influence the development of chemical sensitivities. Zhao received both her Master and Doctor of Science degrees from the Department of Environmental Health at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

Her past research has focused on the fate, transport, and exposure assessment of contaminants, especially metals, in the aquatic environment. For her doctoral thesis, Zhao developed and validated an equilibrium-based in-situ passive sampler, for simultaneous determination of multiple free metal ions, the most bioavailable and toxic form of metals to aquatic organisms. Her post-doctoral research focused on mercury exposure through fish consumption in a rural inland community in the South Central United States. She had also investigated emerging contaminants and published on prioritization of the environmental risk of prescription pharmaceuticals as well as on environmental health implications of electronics recycling.


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.


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.


Masters Student

Skylar is a Master of Science (SM) candidate within the Exposure, Epidemiology and Risk program at the T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

Her research focuses on chemical exposures from electronic cigarettes and the risks they pose to human health. Skylar has a background in investigating the role endocrine disrupting chemicals play in breast cancer development and has partnered with scientists and industry to evaluate consumer products for estrogenicity. Previous to joining Harvard and the For Health team, Skylar was a research assistant at Tufts University School of Medicine. Skylar holds a a B.S. in both Biology and Evolutionary Anthropology from Duke University.


Data Visualization

Olivia Leach is a full-stack web and GIS developer working with the team on data visualization tools for the Sensors for Health program.

Olivia is an engineer by training. She also earned her Master of Public Health (MPH) degree from Emory University, before going on to research and analyst positions with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Geospatial Research, Analysis and Services program, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.


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.



Nikki is an Engineer in Environmental Health at Harvard’s School of Public Health.

She has a background that was developed in the semiconductor manufacturing industry, with experience in process engineering, environmental engineering, human dynamics, systems problem solving, variability and waste reduction and data analysis. Nikki is working on her Harvard Master’s degree in Sustainability and Environmental Management with a focus on Corporate Sustainability. Previously, she received her B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Massachusetts Amherst.


Postdoctoral Fellow

Sepideh Pakpour is a joint postdoctoral fellow at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and the Broad Institute.

Microorganisms, social creatures that build complex communities, make up most of the biodiversity on Earth. Their presence and growth invariably are central to health and to the functioning of ecosystems. Dr. Pakpour's current research focuses on better understanding dynamics of human microbiome and metabolome in diverse and dynamic environments. She is also highly interested to explore (i) what forces and factors influence microbiogeography, and (ii) how microorganisms interact with their environment, with each other, and with their hosts. Dr. Pakpour is working with the Healthy Buildings team on studies related to understanding the role of the indoor microbiome on occupants.


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.


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.


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.


Visiting Scholar

Xi Zhang is a visiting scholar with the Department of Environmental Health at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

Xi's research focuses on the human psychological & physiological responses to wooden indoor environment and evaluates the effects of working productivity. Previously, Xi’s research interests include sustainable & environmental design, bioclimatic building design, and building environmental performance assessment. Presently, she joins the programs of Homes for Health and Nature Environment Research, which aims to articulate the relationships between nature, human biology and the design of built environment, especially to improve health and well-being. Xi Zhang holds an MSc degree from The Chinese University of Hong Kong and will get her doctoral degree in civil engineering from Shanghai Jiao Tong University.


Masters Student

Jie Yin is pursuing a M.S. in Environmental Health at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public 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 health risk factors shaped by urban planning and policy. He co-founded the "Built Environment & Health Student Consortium" and is starting the "Virtual Reality for Health Student Group" at Harvard Chan School. 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. He developed software to assess ecological carrying capacity during city master plan process and established the ecological standards in regulatory plan at Shanghai. As a certified planner and certified engineer in China, Jie has led several award-winning projects on environmental planning, urban/rural design, land-use planning and community design. Jie holds a Bachelor of Engineering degree in Urban Planning from Central South University, and a Master of Engineering degree in Urban Planning and Design degree from Tongji University.



Lacey Klingensmith is a contributing researcher in the Healthy Buildings program.

She joined the Healthy Buildings team while completing her Master's degree in Sustainability and Environmental Management from Harvard University Extension School. Her Master's capstone project research highlighted the indoor environmental health impacts of poor air quality in K-12 schools. She has worked on the Building Evidence for Health / 9 Foundations of a Healthy Building project and co-authored Schools for Health. She previously served as a research assistant and intern with the Harvard Office for Sustainability, and is currently working with the Harvard Division of Continuing Education as a teaching assistant and academic adviser to graduate sustainability students.

Catherine Le

Design Intern

Emily Schwartz

Research Intern