Meet our Center faculty, staff, fellows, and students!
The Center for Climate and Health brings together exceptional members of the BU community with a diversity of expertise, talent, and resources.
Faculty (click to expand)
Amelia Wesselink, PhD – Dr. Wesselink is an environmental and reproductive epidemiologist whose research focuses on the role of air pollution, temperature, and chemical exposures in the etiology of early reproductive events. She is a co-investigator on Pregnancy Study Online (PRESTO), a large web-based preconception cohort study of couples from the U.S. and Canada who are trying to conceive. Through her work in this cohort, she has studied the association of environmental exposures with fertility and miscarriage risk. Dr. Wesselink is interested in further understanding personal exposures to air pollution and extreme heat and how these exposures can influence health outcomes among pregnant women and infants.
Amruta Nori-Sarma, PhD, MPH – Dr. Nori-Sarma as an Assistant Professor in the Environmental Health Department at Boston University School of Public Health, where she studies the relationship between environmental exposures associated with climate change and health outcomes in vulnerable communities. Her previous work has examined the impact of heat waves and air pollution on health in vulnerable communities in India, South Korea, and across the US. Her current research aims to understand the impacts of interrelated extreme weather events on mental health across the US utilizing large claims datasets. She also has an interest in evaluating the success of policies put in place to reduce the health impacts of climate change.
Clarissa Valim, MD, MSc – Dr. Clarissa Valim received her MD from the University of the State of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in 1988 and her ScD in Immunology and Infectious Diseases (Epidemiology of Infectious Diseases) at the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH), in 2003. Dr. Valim’s research focuses on the epidemiology and immunology of malaria and malaria vaccine trials, novel biomarkers to detect microcephaly, and other serious complications of the zika virus during pregnancy and inflammatory response patterns to determine the etiology of fever in young children.
Gregory A. Wellenius, ScD – Leveraging his training in epidemiology, environmental health, and human physiology, Dr. Wellenius leads research focused on assessing the human health impacts of the built environment in the context of a rapidly changing climate. His team has made a number of novel contributions to our understanding of the human health risks associated with air pollution, noise pollution, other features of our physical environment, and the health risks posed by a changing climate. Key goals of his team’s research is to provide actionable scientific evidence that can help communities become as resilient, sustainable, and healthy as possible, and emphasizing the benefits to human health of climate change mitigation and adaptation efforts. Dr. Wellenius serves as Director of the Center for Climate and Health.
Jonathan Jay, DrPH, JD – Dr. Jonathan Jay studies urban health, especially youth exposure to gun violence, as an assistant professor at BUSPH. He works at the intersection of data science and community health, focusing on relationships between the built environment and health and safety risks. He leads Shape-Up, a project using analytics to help city residents reduce firearm violence through environmental improvements (winner of the $100k Everytown for Gun Safety Prize and a 2019 Solver with MIT Solve). He is also a KL2 early career scholar of the BU Clinical & Translational Sciences Initiative.
Jonathan Levy, ScD – Professor Levy focuses on assessment of urban environmental exposures and health risks. This includes high-resolution modeling or monitoring to identify air pollution or temperature “hot spots” and address environmental justice concerns, as well as development and application of methods to quantify the magnitude and distribution of near-term health benefits associated with energy efficiency and renewable energy measures. He is also involved in research considering the joint effects of air pollution, temperature, and green space on a variety of health outcomes. Throughout his work, he emphasizes community-engaged research with an eye toward solutions.
Kevin Lane, PhD, MA – Dr. Lane’s research focus are in the field of air pollution, built environment, urbanization and impacts of climate change on health in local, national and international settings. His expertise in big-data and spatial research has led to the development of novel methods that integrate geographic information systems (GIS), remote sensing data and time-activity algorithms to improve exposure assessment and epidemiology. Currently, Dr. Lane Principal Investigator for the Federal Aviation Administration ASCENT Project 18 Community Measurements of Aviation Emissions Contribution to Ambient Air Quality. Additionally, he examines air pollution and built environment effects on cardio-metabolic health with the Population study of Urban, Rural and Semi-urban Endovascular Disease and Holistic Intervention Study.
Madeleine Scammell, DSc – Professor Scammell’s research is largely driven by community questions and concerns related to the effects of heat on vulnerable populations. She leads an occupational cohort study of outdoor workers in El Salvador and Nicaragua, examining exposure to heat (assessed via sensors that measure core body temperature and ambient temperatures measured by Wet Bulb Globe Thermometer) and kidney function over time. The Research Group for the Study of Chronic Kidney Disease in Central America is also examining mixtures of exposures including heat (e.g., the combination of heavy metals and heat, pharmaceuticals that affect thermoregulation). Locally, Prof. Scammell co-leads the Chelsea & East Boston Heat Study, characterizing exposure to–and experience of–heat among residents who live in urban heat islands, using exposure assessment tools, qualitative methods and participatory action research.
Marcia Pescador Jimenez, PhD – Dr. Pescador Jimenez is an Assistant Professor at the Epidemiology Department at BUSPH. She is formally trained as a cardiovascular, environmental and aging epidemiologist, specifically in the context of geographic contextual risk factors and racial/ethnic disparities. Her early work evaluated the relationship between greenspace and hypertension among adults. More recently, she has extended this to examine the relationship between greenspace and cognitive development among children and mediation analysis between greenspace and cognitive function. Her current work focuses on novel metrics of greenspace and the urban environment using Deep Learning Algorithms and Google Street View images.
Patricia Fabian, ScD – Professor Fabian’s research combines housing, indoor air, respiratory infectious disease transmission, geographical information systems (GIS), and systems science thinking. Her team in the Center for Research on Environmental & Social Stressors in Housing Across the Life Course (CRESSH) built large geospatial databases that are being used to understand environmental health disparities related to urban heat islands, and inform cities and communities to design heat-related interventions. Her team has also built a systems science model linking housing, indoor air quality and energy use with individual and neighborhood characteristics (e.g. green space) to understand tradeoffs and interventions related to pediatric asthma.
Patrick Kinney, ScD – Professor Kinney’s teaching and research address issues at the intersection of global environmental change and human health, with an emphasis on the public health impacts of climate change and air pollution. Before coming to BU in 2017, Dr. Kinney created and directed the climate and health program at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health. Dr. Kinney was the first to show that climate change could worsen urban smog problems in the U.S., with attendant adverse health impacts. He also has studied historical and future health risks related to heat waves in cities around the world. Dr. Kinney’s current work has a more “solutions” focus, for example by quantifying the health and climate benefits that can be achieved through urban mitigation and adaptation strategies related to green space and transportation.
Staff (click to expand)
Anthony (Yuantong) Sun, MS – Anthony graduated from Harvard T.H.Chan School of Public Health with his master of science degree in environmental epidemiology in May, 2020. He is currently working as a research data analyst at Boston University. His research interests include the health effects of heat waves and mapping heat vulnerability. He is also interested in the benefits of regulations on air pollution. He is conducting research on quantifying the health impacts of extreme heat in the U.S. population and responsible for managing the research project of health benefits of PM2.5 regulations.
Chad Milando, PhD, MS – Dr. Milando is a research scientist in the Department of Environmental Health at Boston University School of Public Health. His research focuses on developing and using computational tools and analyses to investigate trends and sources of air pollution exposure, with a specific focus on vulnerable populations.
Jennifer Stowell, PhD, MPH – Dr. Stowell is a post-doctoral researcher in the Program on Climate and Health at the Boston University School of Public Health. She utilizes spatial and epidemiologic methods to examine the adverse effects of climate change on human health. Her dissertation research examined the intersection of climate, air quality and human health, with specific emphasis on the impact of climate-induced wildfire activity on health. Her continuing research is focused on expanding our understanding of extreme heat, prescribed fire and wildfire smoke exposure on pregnancy and birth outcomes.
Keith Spangler, PhD – Dr. Spangler is a research assistant in the Department of Environmental Health and BEDAC. He applies methods from geosciences and epidemiology to assess the impacts of climate change on human health and wellbeing. He is particularly interested in understanding how health risks from climate change vary across space, and determining the extent to which these impacts disproportionately affect the most socially vulnerable populations. His recent work has encouraged the use of spatially resolved meteorological data to potentially improve exposure measures for weather-related health assessments, and he is currently working to further improve exposure measurements of heat through the development of novel datasets.
Graduate Students (click to expand)
Katharine Teigen – Katharine is an MPH student concentrating in Environmental Health and Health Policy and Law. She graduated with a BA from Colorado College with a major in neuroscience and minors in biochemistry and molecular biology. Prior to graduate school, Katharine studied rare genetic disorders and COVID-19 incidence in vulnerable populations as a Post-Baccalaureate Intramural Research Training Award Fellow at the National Institutes of Health. At BUSPH, Katharine works with Dr. Amruta Nori-Sarma on the mental health outcomes of climate change and extreme weather, particularly wildfires. She also co-leads the BUMC Climate Action Group.
Laura Buckley, MPH – Laura is a PhD student in Environmental Health at Boston University who is interested in assessing the health and equity implications of climate change and related mitigation efforts. She is particularly interested in how public health research can be used as a vehicle for change in achieving just energy transitions, as well as in better understanding how our shifting climate is impacting vulnerable populations globally. Previously she worked on climate change adaptation efforts at the San Francisco Department of Public Health and researched public health impacts across the life cycle of emerging renewable energy systems at the Center for Climate Change and Health.
Matthew Raifman, MPP – Matthew earned his Masters in Public Policy from the Harvard Kennedy School and is currently a PhD student in Environmental Health at Boston University. His research interests include examining the impact of local policies on climate and health co-benefits, with a specific focus on the role of transportation and new mobility. His recent work has looked at how local climate action plans can reduce greenhouse gas emissions and local air pollutants, leading to regional health co-benefits. Prior to returning to school for his PhD, Matthew led urban partnerships for Ford Smart Mobility, where he launched two of the first autonomous vehicle pilots in the country. Matthew has also held senior roles advising public sector executives on performance management at the World Bank, the Bloomberg Philanthropies What Works Cities project, and in the Office of the Governor in Maryland.
Quinn Adams, MS – Quinn is a PhD student in the Department of Environmental Health at the Boston University School of Public Health. She also received her MS in Climate and Health at BUSPH. Quinn is interested in understanding the influence of climate change and extreme weather events on human health outcomes, and has a particular interest in the impact of climate on emerging infectious diseases and disease transmission. Previously, Quinn held positions working on environmental health issues at the National Caucus of Environmental Legislators (NCEL) and the Association of Public Health Laboratories (APHL) in Washington, DC.