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. 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. Saeed is a medical graduate of King Edward Medical University in Pakistan. He currently works as a post-doctoral research fellow at ILH with the plan to apply into internal medicine residency for the year 2023. At ILH, he is primarily working on the APECS trial conducting participant visits, collecting specimens, recruiting participants as well as collaborating with partner institutions and research sites. Simultaneously, he is working on a publication of the official protocol for the APECS trial. In his free time, he loves to follow sports and play chess.
Dr. Zetlen is a pulmonary and critical care fellow at the Harvard Combined Pulmonary and Critical Care Fellowship Program. She graduated from the University of Washington School of Medicine, and also obtained a Master of Public Health in Environmental and Occupational Health from the University of Washington School of Public Health. She is interested in the effects of environmental exposures, particularly air pollution, on pulmonary disease. Her current research is focused on the effects of air pollution on the development of respiratory disease in children and adults.
Isabella Chao joined the ILH in 2022 as a Clinical Research Assistant for the Air Purification for Eosinophilic COPD Study (APECS). Isabella graduated from Boston University with a dual degree BA/MS in Biology in 2022. In the APECS trial, Isabella's tasks include recruitment, conducting participant visits, and data collection. In her free time, Isabella enjoys running along the Charles River and baking with friends and family.
Cailey Denoncourt joined the Institute for Lung Health in the spring of 2022 as a clinical research assistant on the Air Purification for Eosinophilic COPD Study (APECS). She recently graduated from Northeastern University with a Bachelor’s of Science in Bioengineering and Biochemistry. When not driving to home visits or assembling air samplers, she loves running, hiking, cycling, or anything in the outdoors.
Alexandra Purcell joined the Institute for Lung Health in February 2022. In her role as a research assistant, she works on recruitment and data collection for the Air Purification for Eosinophilic COPD Study. She is currently a junior at Harvard College concentrating in Environmental Science and Public Policy with a specialty field in public health. In the future, she plans on applying to medical school and pursuing a career related to environmental health and health policy. Outside of school and work, Alexandra enjoys hiking, playing sports, reading, and baking.
Sophia Schortmann joined the Institute for Lung Health in 2021 as an undergraduate research assistant in the Air Purification for Eosinophilic COPD Study (APCES). Her main roles include screening and calling patients for recruitment. Sophia is a rising senior at Boston College who hopes to receive her BS in Biology in 2023 before attending Medical School.
Dr. Aglan was a research fellow working on the APECS trial at the Institute for Lung Health where he worked on the APECS trial and led a project investigating the effect of physical activity on personal exposure to pollutants among COPD patients who participated in the SPACE study. He has since moved on as internal medicine resident at Lahey Health in 2022. He graduated from Tanta University School of Medicine in Egypt, and previously worked with the Egyptian Ministry of Health on environmental health projects.Maura Alvarez, MPH
Dr. Alvarez was a research fellow at the Institute for Lung Health, where she worked on the Air Purification for Eosinophilic COPD Study (APECS). She led a project to investigate the impact of clinical and demographic characteristics on the nasal microbiome of COPD patients in which she received a 2021 American Thoracic Society Minority Trainee award. She graduated from Universidad Central de Venezuela, and received her Master in Public Health at Harvard Chan School of Public Health in 2021.Charlotte Scheerens, PhD
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 studied the association between personal ambient and outdoor temperature on lung function and COPD symptoms, using SPACE study data. She is currently working as coordinator of CliMigHealth, an international academic network housed at Ghent University. 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.Amro Aglan, MD
Dr. Aglan was a research fellow at the Institute for Lung Health, where he primarily worked on the APECS trial and led a project on the impacts of air pollution on daily changes in respiratory symptoms and oxygen saturation among COPD patients, using data from SPACE study. He moved on to become an internal medicine resident at Lahey Hospital and Medical Center starting in 2021. 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.Kelly Chen
Kelly Chen joined the Institute for Lung Health in 2021. Her roles included data manager of the Air Purification for Eosinophilic COPD Study (APECS) and biostatistician for the SPACE study for which she led 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
Anna Lee joined the Institute for Lung Health in 2020 and was 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. She was also working on several other 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
Lina Nurhussien was the biostatician for the Institute for Lung Health (ILH), where she focused on data management, cleaning, and analysis of various projects. She has an MPH in Epidemiology and Biostatistics and Monitoring and Evaluation from Boston University School of Public Health.