Graduate Architecture

Nan (Nancy) Ma

PhD Candidate in the Building Technology of Architecture

Nan (Nancy) Ma is presently a Ph.D. candidate in the building technology track of Architecture at Weitzman School of Design. Nancy’s research interests lie at the intersection of indoor environmental analysis and occupant wellbeing, seeking to understand and influence building design using multidisciplinary simulation, experimental, and field study approaches. In these approaches she applies objective (instrumental) as well as subjective measures (questionnaires, interviews) in the research study procedure. In particular, her research interests include indoor air quality, thermal comfort, occupant health, perception and behavior, environmental sensing, building energy efficiency, data-driven models, and machine learning. She is skilled at sensor coding, statistical modeling, data analysis and visualization, and building performance simulation.

She has been conducting field studies to acquire environmental and occupant data in order to characterize environmental health risks and comfort outcomes for demographically diverse populations across multiple building types. Over the past years, she has collaborated with researchers from other study fields, institutes, departments, and universities. Her current projects include the impact of building envelope design on indoor ozone and inhalation exposure, Internet of Things for measuring the influence of energy-related decisions on indoor environmental quality funded by Kleinman Center for Energy Policy, and Indoor environment and sleep health: In-lab and in-field analysis of environmental factors on sleep quality and quantity in collaboration with the Sleep Lab of Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) and Penn Perelman School of Medicine. She recently receives a grant award from the GAPSA - Provost Fellowship for Interdisciplinary Innovation for this collaborative project.

Nancy is working as a research associate at the Center for Environmental Building & Design and the Thermal Architecture Lab. She also worked as a research assistant at the University of Melbourne’s ZEMCH EXD Lab. Nancy holds a Bachelor of Environments and a Master of Architecture from the University of Melbourne, Australia.

Selected Publications and Patents

Ma, N., Braham, W.W., Hakkarainen, M., & Hou, M. (in preparation). “Impact of building envelope design on indoor ozone exposure in single-family houses”.

Ma, N., Zhou, J., Xiao, R., Chang, VWC., Braham, W.W., & Short, C.A. (in preparation). “Built environment for sustainable aging: Meta-analyzed associations between indoor environmental quality and wellbeing.”

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

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.

Noguchi, M., Ma, N., Woo, CMM., Chau, H., & Zhou, J. (2018). “The usability study of a proposed environmental experience design framework for active aging”. Buildings 8 (12): 167-83.

Chau, H., Woo, CMM., Ma, N., Wang, J., Newton, C., & Aye, L. (2018). “Design lessons from three Australian dementia support facilities”. Buildings 8 (5): 67-79.

Ma, N., Chau, H., Zhou, J., & Noguchi, M. (2017). “Structuring the environmental experience deign research framework thorough selected aged care facility data analyses in Victoria”. Sustainability 9 (12): 2172-88.

Ma, N. (2017). “Emergence of a utopian vision of modernist and futuristic houses and cities in early 20th century”. In IOP Conference Series: Earth and Environmental Science (Vol. 61, No. 1). IOP Publishing. 

Ma, N. (2017). “Study on Obstacle Factors and Management Tactics of Green Building Development in China”. DEStech Transactions on Environment, Energy and Earth Sciences, (APEESD).

Ma, N., She, K. (2017) “An Ecological Recyclable Energy System for the Large-Scale Grouped Building Project” (CN Patent No. CN106593008A). State Intellectual Property Office of the P.R.C.