Wylie Lab

The Wylie Lab seeks to investigate environmental injustice across the life cycle of oil and gas from production, to transport, refining and storage, to the toxicities of downstream products. We work collaboratively with community organizations, NGOs, environmental scientists and computer scientists to develop new methods for environmental justice research and corporate accountability. Currently we are working on ways to map the neurotoxic gas hydrogen sulfide using photographic paper and on ways to visualize, in real-time, water pollution from industrial outfalls. We are presently working with communities in Wyoming, Montana, Texas and Saskatchewan to analyze air quality impacts from oil and gas extraction. In 2014-2015 we worked with Pennsylvania’s Environmental Health Project to assess their citizen science efforts to monitor particulate matter emissions from unconventional energy. In 2015 we worked on a successful campaign with the Southeast Environmental Task Force and Ban Petcoke to study and map piles of petcoke, a waste product from tar sands refining. In 2016-17 we worked with the Swinomish Reservation in Washington State to analyze air quality impacts from neighboring oil refining operations. Presently we work with Chelsea Massachusetts’ environmental justice organization GreenRoots to study the environmental health impacts of their seven oil storage facilities. Our work is funded by the Harvard School of Public Health’s JPB Environmental Fellowship, the Heinz foundation and Harvard and Boston Universities: Center for Research on Environmental and Social Stressors in Housing Across the Life Course (CRESSH).


Lourdes Vera Lourdes_Vera_003

Lourdes Vera is a member of the Social Science Environmental Health Research Institute (SSEHRI) and a PhD student in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Northeastern University. She received her B.A. in Urban Studies from Barnard College at Columbia University where she wrote her senior thesis on “Place and Justice in Urban Agriculture” and M.A. in Teaching Earth and General Science from CUNY Brooklyn College where she continued her research on community agriculture and education. As a former teacher, she is interested in how D.I.Y. tools and data visualization can facilitate deeper understandings of scientific phenomena to mobilize individuals from all skill levels and backgrounds for environmental advocacy. She is especially interested in using citizen science to address environmental health and justice concerns with communities affected by industrial development. Currently, she is a research assistant to Prof. Sara Wylie working to develop and validate a photopaper tool to measure and map low, chronic amounts of the toxic gas hydrogen sulfide that presents health risks to communities adjacent to oil and gas facilities.

Taylor Braswell Taylor Braswell Photo

Taylor Braswell is a sociology Ph.D. student with an interest in the social and spatial implications of energy production, particularly in the context of planetary urbanization. As a research assistant to Professor Sara Wylie, Taylor is working to explore household energy insecurity as a social issue in oil & gas communities. Prior to attending Northeastern, Taylor received an M.A. in sociology from Saint Louis University, where his research focused on geographic information science, spatial inequalities emerging from community gardening, and local land use practices. Taylor earned a B.A. in economics at Georgia State University in Atlanta, GA.

Drew Michanowicz

Drew Michanowicz is a postdoctoral research fellow in Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health’s Climate, Energy, and Health program. He is also part of The Nature Conservancy’s NatureNet Science Fellows Program class of 2015. Drew’s research interests are related to poorly understood and emerging environmental hazards on both global- and community-level scales. One such emerging issue is the penetration of renewables into an aging and poorly adaptable energy system. To better inform the public and policy makers, we are developing a national census-like database of determinants of energy infrastructural integrity, starting with underground natural gas storage. These data can be utilized to measure hazard consequence and triage management policies based on risks to public health. Additionally, Drew and colleagues are developing a 3D air quality monitoring drone using gas sensing technologies that can be deployed in spaces previously inaccessible to traditional sampling methods.

Mia Renauld

Mia Renauld is a PhD graduate student and research assistant for SSEHRI and member of NEJRC. She received her bachelor’s degrees from University of California, Santa Cruz in Anthropology and Political Ecology. Her research interests include environmental justice, political economy, urban theory, and sustainability including past research that explored the transforming political economy of New Delhi and how it has impacted the urban poor’s rights to citizenship and access to water. She is currently researching environmental justice policies in California and how the oil complex influences the daily life of Richmond residents.

Erik Hanley

Erik Hanley is a senior in Health Sciences at Northeastern University pursuing his capstone research project in the lab. Erik is developing ways to analyze hydrogen sulfide corrosion on copper pipes as part of the Wylie’s Hydrogen Sulfide sensing project.

Emily Schachtele

Emily Schachtele is a senior in Health Sciences at Northeastern University pursuing her capstone research project in the lab. Emily is developing ways to assess real-time performances of environmental data as part of the lab’s work studying the water quality impacts of oil storage facilities and the development of the Thermal Fishing Bob.


Elisabeth Wilder

Jacob Matz

Holden Sparacino

Kaya Simmons

Megan McLaughlin

Anna Walsh

Victoria Seidman