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

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, Harvard Business Review, National Geographic, 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)


Associate Director

Dr. Piers MacNaughton a 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 managers 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.


Associate Director

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 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 Dr. John D. Spengler.


PhD Student

Emily (Gilson) Jones 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 ways in which buildings affect our health.

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.


PhD Student

 Anna Young is a doctoral student at the Harvard Graduate School of Arts and Sciences concentrating in Environmental Health.

Her research focuses on global population exposures to toxic chemical classes in consumer products and building materials. In particular, she is interested in how healthier materials interventions in indoor environments can reduce chemical exposures and promote health. Anna holds a BA in Computer Science and Environmental Studies from Yale University and an MS in Environmental Health from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.


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.

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 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.


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 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.


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.


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.


Research Assistant

Maya Bliss is a Research Assistant with the Healthy Buildings program.

Maya Bliss is senior at Brandeis University studying Health: Science, Society, and Policy with a minor in Environmental Studies, as well as the captain of the Varsity Track and Field Team. Her interests lie in community health and particularly the impacts of sustainable buildings, energy, and practices on health. She works on the Global CogFx study and the firefighter initiatives with the Healthy Buildings Team.


Research Assistant

Sydney Robinson is a Research Assistant with the Healthy Buildings Program.

Sydney is a sophomore at Harvard College intending to concentrate in History and Science with a secondary in Global Health and Health Policy. Sydney's interests lie in the intersections of environmental science, human health, and sociology. On campus, she works with a student-run nonprofit that delivers fresh produce to areas of Boston with limited access to grocers. She is currently helping Dr. Allen with writing his book on the economic case for healthy buildings.


Research Associate

Dr. Azimi is a Research Associate for the Healthy Buildings Program.

His research focuses on fate, transport, and control of indoor aerosols of indoor and ambient origin, chronic health impacts of fine particles in various microenvironments, and energy performance of residential and commercial buildings. Currently, he is working on the Co-BE (Co-Benefits of the Built Environment) project, which determines the connections between energy cost savings, emission reductions, and health co-benefits for various countries including United States, China, India, Brazil, Germany, and Turkey.

Dr. Azimi recently joined the Healthy Buildings Program after two years of working as a post-doctorate fellow in the Department of Civil, Architectural, and Environmental Engineering at the Illinois Institute of Technology, where he also received his Ph.D. in Environmental Engineering in 2016. He earned his M.Sc. degree in Environmental Engineering in 2012 and B.Sc. degree in Civil Engineering in 2010 both from the Department of Civil Engineering at Sharif University of Technology, Tehran, Iran.


Postdoctoral Fellow

Dr. Parichehr Salimifard is a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Healthy Buildings program

Parichehr’s research interests in built environment are indoor air quality and building energy modeling. Her research in indoor air quality crosses over to aerosol science focusing on aerosols dynamics and sensing; She has specifically worked on indoor aerosol transport and resuspension and aerosol sensing and size characterization. Her research on building energy modeling has involved part-load energy modeling of building subsystems and investigating the trade-offs between the energy conservation measures installation and indoor air quality.

Parichehr holds a B.Sc. in Mechanical Engineering with a focus on fluid mechanics and heat transfer from Persian Gulf University, Iran. She received her M.Sc. in Architectural Engineering – Mechanical Option with minor in Computational Science in 2014 at Penn State University, where she also received her Ph.D. in Architectural Engineering – Mechanical Option in 2018.


Visiting Undergraduate Student

Sarah Grisot works in the Healthy Buildings Program as a visiting undergraduate student.

Sarah is a fourth-year engineer student at INSA Lyon (France) in the Energy and Environment Department. She is an active member of her school gymnastic team and likes to travel. She is currently working on the CoBE project with the Healthy Buildings Team.


Visiting Graduate Student

Marianne Lahaie Luna is a Visiting Graduate Student with the Healthy Buildings Program.

Marianne is a visiting graduate student from McGill University. She will continue her graduate studies at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto in the fall, specializing in Occupational and Environmental Health. In addition to her interest in Environmental and Public Health, Marianne is an advocate for menstrual rights, and she has co-founded the Lahaie Luna Lezama NGO. With the Healthy Buildings Team, she is working on the E-cigarette project initiative.


Research Assistant

Zahra Keshavarz is a Research Assistant in the Healthy Buildings Program.

Zahra holds a B.Sc. in civil engineering and a M.Sc. in structural engineering. Her research focused on applications of artificial intelligence techniques in predicting building characteristics. She also has a background in indoor environmental engineering. Before joining the For Health team, Zahra worked as an indoor air consultant at the company Indoor Science in Chicago, IL.


Undergraduate Research Assistant

Sarah Hughes is an Undergraduate Research Assistant with the Healthy Buildings Program.

Sarah is a freshman at Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts, where she plans to study Environmental Science. Sarah’s interests lie in the intersection between sustainability and human health. In her spare time, she enjoys bicycling and hiking in the White Mountains.


Undergraduate Research Assistant

Cameron Reaves is an Undergraduate Research Assistant with the Healthy Buildings Program.

Cameron is a junior at Harvard College studying Environmental Science and Public Policy. His interests are sustainable development, urban planning, and energy, particularly the interactions between public and private organizations as the "City of the Future" is built. In his spare time, he enjoys long walks through Boston with his partner.


Visiting Graduate Student

Marissa is a visiting graduate student from the University of Washington with the Healthy Buildings Program.

Marissa is a visiting graduate student from the University of Washington (UW). Her background is in public health and her research interests are surrounding the relationships between public health, sustainability policies, and the built environment. She is currently working on the CoBE project to determine the co-benefits to health of California’s new residential solar requirement.

Marissa works as Public Health Specialist at UW’s Environmental Health & Safety department, where she regulates food safety, water quality, pest/wildlife control, and has experience in the regulation of occupational safety in industrial shops and medical settings. Marissa is pursuing a Master of Public Health degree from UW’s Department of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences. She received her Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Science from Washington State University in 2016.


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.


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.

Skylar Klager

Masters Student

Nate Dieudonne


Xi Zhang

Visiting Scholar

Alex Hem

Research Intern

Emily Sparer, ScD

Research Associate

Alex Wu

Doctoral Student

Yang Geng

Visiting Doctoral Student

Debbie Chan

Research Assistant

Skye Flanigan, MS

Research Assistant

Drew Michanowicz, PhD

Postdoctoral Fellow

Olivia Leach, MPH

Data Visualization

Lacey Klingensmith, MS


Sepideh Pakpour, PhD

Postdoctoral Fellow

Nicole Kocher


Zhao Dong, ScD

Postdoctoral Fellow

Julie M. Goodman, PhD

Research Associate

Catherine Le

Design Intern

Emily Schwartz

Research Intern