Lung Health Research Team
About Our Team
The mission of the Institute for Lung Health is to investigate the preventable causes of chronic lung disease and to translate our research findings into clinical care and policies that improve the health of individuals with pulmonary disease. Our team is comprised of a diverse group of investigators, post-doctoral fellows, and research associates.
Dr. Rice is a pulmonary critical care physician and the Director of the BIDMC Institute for Lung Health and an Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. Her area of investigation focuses on the influence of environmental exposures, especially air pollution, on the respiratory health of children and adults. She is developing new applications for portable monitoring technology and non-invasive sampling of the upper respiratory tract to improve our understanding of how indoor exposures affect respiratory symptoms, and how indoor air quality can be improved for lung health. She chaired the American Thoracic Society's Environmental Health Policy Committee 2018-2021 and is the co-chair of the Environmental Sustainability Committee of BIDMC. In 2020, she received the Jo Rae Wright Award for Outstanding Science from the American Thoracic Society, a national award recognizing tomorrow's leaders in science, and was selected as one of Medscape's 25 Rising Stars in Medicine.
Dr. Synn is an attending physician in the Division of Pulmonary, Critical Care, and Sleep Medicine at BIDMC and an Instructor in Medicine at Harvard Medical School. His research focuses on quantitative imaging biomarkers of pulmonary vascular disease, with a particular interest in leveraging computed tomography (CT) scans to identify individuals at risk for pulmonary hypertension. His work is supported by the NIH and the American Lung Association.
Dr. Nassikas is an attending physician in the Division of Pulmonary, Critical Care, and Sleep Medicine at BIDMC and an Instructor in Medicine at Harvard Medical School. His research focuses on how climate change affects the respiratory health of children and adults. Dr. Nassikas is also a member of the American Thoracic Society’s Environmental Health Policy Committee.
Dr. Baptiste is an attending physician in pulmonary and critical care medicine at BIDMC and an Instructor in Medicine at Harvard Medical School. Her clinical research interests include: the diagnostic performance of lung cancer screening methods in specific patient populations and COPD, as it relates specifically to lung cancer risk. Dr. Baptiste is developing a collaborative research effort with the Lung Cancer Screening program at BIDMC.
Dr. Beach is an attending physician in the Division of Pulmonary, Critical Care, and Sleep Medicine at BIDMC and an Instructor in Medicine at Harvard Medical School. His clinical and research interests include asthma, COPD, novel immunotherapies for the treatment of asthma, and eosinophilic lung diseases particularly eosinophilic granulomatosis with polyangiitis (EGPA).
Dr. Flashner is a pulmonary and critical care physician at BIDMC. She was a fellow at the Harvard Combined Pulmonary Fellowship Program, and was selected to be Chief Medical Resident at BIDMC. Her research is focused on the effects of obesity, exercise, asthma, and allergic rhinitis on measures of airway inflammation among teenagers enrolled in Project Viva. Clinically, she is an interstitial lung disease (ILD) with projects focusing on the pathologic features of ILD associated with antisynthetase antibodies.
Dr. Hallowell is the Pulmonary Clinic Practice Director at BIDMC and an Assistant Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. His clinical area of expertise focuses on a wide array interstitial lung diseases, including idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), sarcoidosis, and interstitial lung disease.
Dr. Kholdani specializes in Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, is the Director of the Pulmonary Hypertension Center at BIDMC and an Instructor in Medicine at Harvard Medical School. His areas of clinical focus are the diagnosis and treatment of pulmonary hypertension and pulmonary thromboembolic diseases. His academic interests include establishing quality metrics in the care of patients with pulmonary arterial hypertension.
Dr. Levy is an attending physician in the Division of Pulmonary, Critical Care, and Sleep Medicine at BIDMC, the Medical Director of the BIDMC Pulmonary Function Laboratory, and an Instructor in Medicine at Harvard Medical School. He sees pulmonary patients in the outpatient setting and also provides inpatient critical care and pulmonary care. His academic interests include sarcoidosis and the role of pulmonary function testing in non-pulmonary diseases such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).
Dr. Aglan is a research fellow at the Institute for Lung Health and an internal medicine residency applicant for the year 2022. He graduated from Tanta University School of Medicine in Egypt, and previously worked with the Egyptian Ministry of Health on environmental health projects. Dr. Aglan works on the APECS trial, conducting participant visits, managing the study protocol, tracking medical tests, and collecting specimens. He leads a research project investigating the effect of physical activity on personal exposure to pollutants among COPD patients who participated in the SPACE study.
Dr. Alvarez is a Research Fellow at the Institute for Lung Health. She graduated from Universidad Central de Venezuela, and received her Master in Public Health at Harvard Chan School of Public Health in 2021. She previously worked as a Research Fellow at Brigham and Women's Hospital and as a physician in the Venezuelan Amazonia. In 2021, Dr. Alvarez received the Harvard Medical School Dean's Community Service Award for her pioneering work developing the CUMIS UCV Foundation. She is working on the Air Purification for Eosinophilic COPD Study (APECS) and is leading a project to investigate the impact of clinical and demographic characteristics on the nasal microbiome of COPD patients. Dr. Alvarez is the recipient of a 2021 American Thoracic Society Minority Trainee award for this research.
Dr. Mein is a fellow at the Harvard Combined Pulmonary and Critical Care Fellowship Program. He is interested in studying the impact health disparities and social determinants of health, such as environmental exposures, have on respiratory disease. His current research is focused on the effects of air pollution on childhood lung development.
Dr. Scheerens, is a Belgian health sociologist and post-doctoral researcher, focusing on environmental (lung) health and health equity. At BIDMC's institute for lung health, she studies the association between personal ambient and outdoor temperature on lung function and COPD symptoms, using SPACE study data. She is also working with Ghent University (Belgium), as part of an International Thematic Network on the climate change, migration and health (care) nexus. With the WHO Technical Working Group 5: equity of Global Health Workforce Network Data and Evidence Hub, she is developing policy guidance for monitoring equity in human resources for health. Her PhD tested integrated care models for COPD of which one study (published in the ERJ) received the second prize 2019 Prof. Romain Pauwels Award by the Belgian Respiratory Society.
Dr. Aglan is a Research Fellow at the Institute for Lung Health and upcoming internal medicine resident at Lahey Hospital and Medical Center (2021-2024). He graduated from Tanta University School of Medicine in Egypt, and previously worked in the Department of Public Health, Environmental, and Social Determinants of Health at the World Health Organization. Dr. Aglan primarily works on the APECS trial and is involved in study planning, recruitment of study participants, and collection of health data. He is also leading another project investigating the impacts of air pollution on daily changes in respiratory symptoms and oxygen saturation among COPD patients, using data from SPACE study.
Kelly Chen joined the Institute for Lung Health in 2021. Her roles include data manager of the Air Purification for Eosinophilic COPD Study (APECS) and biostatistician for the SPACE study for which she is leading a project on physical activity, air pollutant exposure, and lung function outcomes. She received her Master of Science in Environmental Epidemiology and Risk from Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health in 2021. She is interested in the relationships between climate and health, particularly to provide clinically and policy-relevant evidence that can improve health in an environmentally-just manner.
Anna Lee joined the Institute for Lung Health in 2020 and is the Project Manager for the Air Purification for Eosinophilic COPD Study (APCES). She holds an MPH from Boston University School of Public Health with certificates in Epidemiology and Biostatistics and Environmental Health. As manager of the APECS trial, she coordinates the research study and work of students, post-doctoral fellows and research assistants on the team. Anna is engaged in multiple Institute for Lung Health research projects, including investigation of biomarkers of air pollution exposure in the nasal lining fluid of COPD patients, and collaborations with investigators at VA on air pollution exposure and the respiratory health of COPD patients.
Lina Nurhussien is the Biostatician for the Institute for Lung Health (ILH). She has an MPH in Epidemiology and Biostatistics and Monitoring and Evaluation from Boston University School of Public Health. At the ILH, her work focuses on data management, cleaning, and analysis of various projects.