Collaborating Professors

John Godleski is Associate Professor in the Department of Environmental Health at the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) and Senior Pulmonary Pathologist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. Dr. Godleski’s research focuses on the pulmonary and systemic responses to inhaled ambient air particles. His studies use cardiac and pulmonary mechanical measurements as well as cell and molecular biologic approaches with inhalation exposure to concentrated ambient air particles. The overall hypothesis being tested in his laboratory is: Ambient urban air particles are complex mixtures with intrinsic toxicity; particulate exposure results in stimulation of lung receptors, release of reactive oxygen species, and induction of pro-inflammatory mediators that lead to local and systemic effects especially on the cardiovascular system, which ultimately account for epidemiologic associations between adverse health effects and particulate air pollution.

Paulo Saldiva is Professor of Pulmonary Pathology and Chair of the Department of Pathology at the Universidade de São Paulo Medical School (FMUSP). He is Chair of the Laboratory of Experimental Air Pollution and of the Research Commission at FMUSP and a Member of the Science Advisory Committee, Harvard/EPA PM Center at the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH). Saldiva’s research interests include pulmonary pathology and air pollution related diseases. The main objective of Saldiva’s work in air pollution and human health at the USP is to demonstrate the evidence that relates air pollution to human health, considering two main types of pollutants: particulate matter and ozone. All the inhabitants of large urban centers inhale particles of pollutants present in the atmosphere. Several groups from different countries have found associations between particulate matter contents and hospital admissions, mainly from events related to respiratory and cardiovascular diseases, and also it has been found that the chronic exposure has a role in the reduction of life expectancy. Saldiva’s groupof the FMUSP in São Paulo has been dedicated to this kind of study, accumulating experience in demonstrating adverse health effects due to environmental exposure to particulate matter. His scientific productionincludes approximately 250 papers, over 40 of which were completed in the past three years. Professor Saldiva earned his PhD in Pathology (1983) and his MD (1977) from the Universidade de São Paulo (USP).

Joseph Brain is Cecil K. and Philip Drinker Professor of Environmental Physiology in the Department of Environmental Health at the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH). His studies extend from the deposition of inhaled particles in the respiratory tract to their clearance by respiratory defense mechanisms. Of particular interest is the role of lung macrophages and the pathogenesis and prevention of environmental lung diseases and respiratory infection. His research has utilized magnetic particles in macrophages as a noninvasive tool for measuring cell motility and the response of macrophages to various mediators and toxins. Other experiments deal with the use of lung lavage to obtain and characterize macrophages. Another area of study is drug delivery to and through the lungs. A rodent bioassay utilizing lung lavage has been developed; the assay has been used to estimate the relative toxicity of new and complex mixtures such as molds, urban dusts, welding fume, nanomaterials, as well as drugs and excipients administered by inhalation. For more details on Professor Brain's work, please see:

Philip Demokritou is Associate Professor of Aerosol Physics in the Department of Environmental Health at the Harvard School of Public Health. Dr. Demokritou’s research interests are primarily in the areas of Aerosol Science and Technology and Particle Health Effects, focusing on the sources, transport, and fate of particles in environmental and biological media. His diverse research activities include among others: 1) environmental naotechnology; 2) environmental health and safety of engineered nanoparticles and nanotechnology in general;  3) development of particle methods and systems for the physico-chemical and toxicological characterization of aerosols;  4) development of advanced numerical models using Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) to investigate transport and fade of air pollutants in the built environment; 5)  participation in particle health effect  studies both at national and  international levels (US, Chile, Athens- Greece, Kuwait, Cyprus). Dr Demokritou is currently the Director of the Center for Nanotechnology and Nanotoxicology at the Harvard School of Public Health ( The center draws on decades of experience with environmental pollutants and the health effects of particles to address the unique environmental health and safety (EHS) concerns raised by engineered nanomaterials (ENM) & nanotechnology applications.

Jeffrey Fredberg is Professor of Bioengineering and Physiology in the Department of Environmental Health at the Harvard School of Public Health. The Fredberg laboratory seeks to discover physical laws governing the abilities of the cytoskeleton to deform, contract, and remodel. These basic mechanical processes underlie a range of higher level phenomena in health and disease including many aspects of cancer, cardiovascular disease, malaria, and morphogenesis, but our major research emphasis is the role of these processes in airway narrowing in asthma. Trainees with backgrounds in engineering sciences, cell biology, or physics of soft condensed matter learn how to work side-by-side to pose new questions, invent new nanotechnologies, apply these technologies in novel experimental investigations, and analyze resulting data in terms of evolving mechanistic understanding of the physical properties of the living cell.

Lester Kobzik is a Professor in the Department of Environmental Health at the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) and Professor of Pathology at the Harvard Medical School (HMS). His main research interest is how the lung interacts with inhaled particles—be they environmental particulates, pathogens or allergens. One focus of his work is the role of the lung macrophage in lung defense mechanisms and pulmonary inflammation, especially in relationship to environmental lung disease.A fascinating aspect of lung macrophages is their selective interaction with inhaled particles. They respond with simple ingestion and clearance to some particles (the harmless, 'inert' dusts). In contrast, encounters of lung macrophages with pathogenic particles result in release of mediators that initiate inflammation and injury. These mysteriously regulated responses are central to the public health problems caused by air pollution in urban areas, by dusts in certain occupations, and by certain inhaled pathogenic organisms. For more details on Professor Kobzik's work, please see:

Bernardo Lemos is an Assistant Professor of Environmental Epigenetics in the Department of Environmental Health at the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH). His laboratory pursues research themes in systems and environmental epigenetics that are inherently interdisciplinary: the long-term goal is to develop a functional and populational understanding of the mapping between genotypes, phenotypes, and environments. In particular, three complementary sets of research themes are being cohesively pursued. One set is centered on Y-chromosome heterochromatin: its genetic and epigenetic variation, its manifold functional consequences and unique population dynamics. Another related set of questions is centered on the systems biology of regulatory variation, epigenetic networks, and the dynamics of genotype-by-environmental interaction. A third set of questions directly address individual responses to the environment and the consequences of maternal and paternal epi-alleles on subsequent generations. We approach our research questions mechanistically through careful genomic experimentation and integrative computational analyses; these are blended with rigorous genetic manipulations within meaningful environmental contexts. One area of interest has been on developing novel models to understand environmentally modulated human disease risk.

Quan Lu is an Associate Professor of Environmental Genetics and Pathophysiology in the Department of Environmental Health and the Department of Genetics and Complex Diseases at the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH). The major areas of focus in his lab include ntegrative genomics of lung physiology and pathobiology, genetic mechanisms of metal toxicity, and the role of secreted microvesicles in cell signaling and disease. For more on Dr. Lu's work, please see:

Stephanie Shore is Senior Lecturer on Physiology in the Department of Environmental Health at the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH). Her research has to do with the rising prevalence of asthma and obesity, both important public health problems. Epidemiological data indicate that obesity increases the risk of developing asthma, but the mechanistic basis for this link remains to be established. Her team has demonstrated that obese mice have innate airway hyperresponsiveness, a characteristic feature of asthma. Obese mice also have greater responses to ozone or allergen, two common asthma triggers. Using these mice, they are investigating the hypothesis that the hormones and inflammatory cytokines produced in adipose tissue act on the lung to increase its response to asthma triggers. Her studies involve measurements of airway hyperresponsiveness (AHR), airway inflammation, and gene expression. For more details on Professor Shore's work, please see:

Richard Verrier is an Associate Professor of Medicine, at the Harvard Medical School (HMS) and at Cardiovascular Division, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. His research is focused on neural, behavioral, and environmental triggers of sudden cardiac death and arrhythmias. The laboratory specializes in computerized analysis of electrocardiographic markers, especially T-wave alternans, a beat-to-beat fluctuation in the area and form of the T-wave of the ECG. We demonstrated that T-wave alternans provides an index of vulnerability to life-threatening cardiac arrhythmias as well as a means to identify individuals at risk and to measure the efficacy of pharmacologic therapy. Current investigations include neural triggers of sudden death during ischemia, anger, REM sleep, and exposure to environmental air particles. Our research has led to a novel technique for selective delivery of angiogenic and myogenic factors to the heart via the pericardial sac. This technology provides a natural interface between molecular and integrative biology.

Ellen Grant is the Director of the Fetal-Neonatal Neuroimaging and Developmental Science Center (FNNDSC) at Children's Hospital Boston. The center's purpose is to create the infrastructure and provide the expertise needed to support and foster cutting edge clinical and translational science research involving magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), magnetoencephalography (MEG) and near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) across multiple subspecialties.

Masanori Aikawa serves as Founding Director and Yoshihiro Miwa Associate Chair of the Center for Interdisciplinary Cardiovascular Sciences (CICS, at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) and Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School (HMS). CICS established a new model of the academia-industry collaboration in drug discovery research. He also runs his research laboratory in the Center for Excellence in Vascular Biology at BWH/HMS, primarily supported by the National Institutes of Health and the American Heart Association. His research focuses include atherosclerosis, metabolic disorders, and macrophage biology.