Kaven Hall 217
Ph.D. in Architecture (Building Technology), University of Pennsylvania
Master of Architecture, University of Melbourne
Bachelor of Environments, University of Melbourne

Nan (Nancy) Ma, PhD, Assoc. AIA, is an Assistant Professor of Architectural Engineering at CEAE and director of Laboratory for Healthy, Environmental, and Resilient Buildings (HERB-Lab). Her work investigates the integration of architectural, environmental, and computational knowledge to advance healthy, sustainable, and occupant-centric buildings. In pursuing this objective, her research applies multi-disciplinary simulation, experimental, and field study approaches using both objective (instrumental) and subjective measures (questionnaires, interviews). Specifically, her research interests include building performance for thermal comfort and energy efficiency, design for building occupants and behavior, IoT smart buildings and machine learning, and related indoor environmental (air) quality field studies. Ma has led multiple interdisciplinary research projects in collaboration with various fields ranging from public health, biostatistics, computer science, mechanical engineering, to pediatric psychology. She has been awarded 2021 Best Paper Awards from the highly regarded journal Building and Environment and has received research funds from Kleinman Center for Energy Policy, GAPSA - Provost Fellowship for Interdisciplinary Innovation, and Penn Research Transition Fund. Prior to joining WPI, Ma held an appointment at the University of Melbourne. She worked as a research associate at the Center for Environmental Building & Design and the Thermal Architecture Lab at Penn. Ma holds a PhD in Architecture (building technology track) from the University of Pennsylvania, a Master of Architecture, and a Bachelor of Environments from the University of Melbourne, Australia.

Sustainable Development Goals

SDG 9: Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure

SDG 9: Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure - Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation

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SDG 10: Reduced Inequalities

SDG 10: Reduced Inequalities - Reduce inequality within and among countries

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SDG 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities

SDG 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities - Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable

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SDG 13: Climate Action

SDG 13: Climate Action - Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts

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Scholarly Work

Professor Ma's research focuses on indoor environment quality, building simulation, and machine learning.

Featured works:

Ma, N., Hakkarainen, M., Hou, M., Aviv, D., & Braham, W. W. (2022). Impacts of building envelope design on indoor ozone exposures and health risks in urban environments. Indoor and Built Environment, 1420326X221112010.

Kang, Y., Ma, N. , Bunster, V., Chang, VWC., & Zhou, J. (2022). Optimizing the Passive House Planning Package simulation tool: A bottom-up dynamic approach to reduce building performance gap. Energy and Buildings 267, 112512.

Ma, N., Chen, L., Hu, J., Perdikaris, P., & Braham, W. W. (2021). Adaptive behavior and different thermal experiences of real people: A Bayesian neural network approach to thermal preference prediction and classification. Building and Environment, 198, 107875. (Best Paper Award).

Ma, N., Aviv, D., Guo, H., & Braham, W.W. (2021). Measuring the right factors: A review of variables and models for thermal comfort and indoor air quality. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews 135, 110436.

Professional Highlights & Honors
Best Paper Award, 2021
Building and Environment (Journal)
Scientific Committee: Hybrids & Haecceities, 2022
Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews
Building and Environment
Journal of Building Engineering