Matt Perzanowski, PhD, MPH

  • Associate Professor of Environmental Health Sciences
Profile Headshot


Dr. Perzanowski's research is focused on understanding exposures that lead to allergic sensitization and asthma.  His expertise is in environmental epidemiology with research focused on understanding environmental exposures that lead to allergic sensitization, asthma and airway inflammation. His group's current research is exploring paradigms of exposures related to asthma disparities in an area of the world with a high prevalence of asthma, low-income neighborhoods in NYC. He leads a productive field and laboratory based molecular epidemiology research group.  His group is conducting the NIH (NIEHS), HUD, CDC and ASPR supported NYC Neighborhood Asthma and Allergy Study that is examining neighborhood differences in asthma prevalence and persistence to better understand the great disparity in asthma risk seen between children living just city blocks apart. A major focus of Dr. Perzanowski's research efforts is the implementation of non-invasive measurements of airway inflammation in pediatric population studies. Another current focus is the investigation into the role of early-life dysregulation of the autonomic nervous system in the risk for exercise-induced asthma later in childhood and how this pathway could be contributing to disparities in emergency department visits for asthma. Dr. Perzanowski is actively involved in the EHS community, including the ECHO program where he serves on several committees, is a scientific advisor to the data management group and is a co-investigator with three cohort studies. He has been an active member and leader in Columbia's NIEHS Center for Environmental Health and Justice in Northern Manhattan (CEHNM) as an active Community Engagement Core member and a leader of the Allergen and Bioaerosol lab. He has also been actively involved in community engagement around environmental health disparities, including current HUD and NIEHS funded studies investigating the efficacy of a large-scale mold remediation intervention in NYC public housing in reducing asthma morbidity. Dr. Perzanowski is the Vice Chair for Education and Training in the Department of Environmental Health Sciences and is the Director of the MPH Core Curriculum.

Office Location: 630 West 168th Street, VP&S Room 16-418

Academic Appointments

  • Associate Professor of Environmental Health Sciences

Administrative Titles

  • Vice Chair, EHS Education and Training
  • Interim Director, Columbia Center for Environmental Health and Justice in Northern Manhattan
  • Multiple Principal Investigator, NIEHS T32 Training Grant, Advanced training in environmental health and data science: molecules to populations
  • Director, MPH CORE Curriculum

Credentials & Experience

Education & Training

  • MPH, 2002 Umea University
  • PhD, 2003 Umea University


Research Interests

  • Air pollution and Asthma
  • Asthma
  • Child and Adolescent Health
  • Chronic disease
  • Environmental Health
  • Global Health
  • Public Health Education
  • Urban Health

Selected Publications

Conrad LA, Rauh VA, Hoepner LA, Acosta LM, Perera FP, Rundle AG, Arteaga-Solis E, Miller RL, Perzanowski MS. (2020) Report of prenatal maternal demoralization and material hardship and infant rhinorrhea and watery eyes. Ann Allergy Immunol. 125(4):399-404.

Sofer N, Green BJ, Acosta LM, Divjan A, Sobek E, Lemons AR, Rundle AG, Jacobson JS, Goldstein IF, Miller RL, Perzanowski MS (2018). Alternaria is associated with asthma symptoms and exhaled NO among NYC children. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 142(4):1366-1368. [PMID: 29964057]

Perzanowski MS, Savary KW, Arteaga-Solis E, Lautenbacher LA, Brito NH, Rauh VA, Nugent JD, Elliott AJ, Myers MM, Fifer WP (2018). Associations between parasympathetic activity in the month after birth and wheeze at age 2-3 years. Am J Resp Crit Care Med. 198 (4):532-4.

Savary KW, Miller RL, Arteaga-Solis E, Hoepner L, Acosta LM, Perera FP, Rundle AG, Goldstein IF, Perzanowski MS (2018). Infant rhinitis and watery eyes predict school-age exercise-induced wheeze, emergency department visits and asthma hospitalizations. Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol 120:278-84.

Perzanowski MS, Ono JG, Acosta LM, Kim BI, Divjan A, Miller R, Rundle A, Worgall S, Worgall TS (2017). Distinct Serum Sphingolipid Profiles among School-aged Children with Exercise-induced Wheeze and Asthma Persistence. Am J Respir Crit Care Med 195(8):1068-70.

Matsui EC, Perzanowski M, Peng RD, Wise RA, Balcer-Whaley S, Newman M, Cunningham A, Divjan A, Bollinger ME, Zhai S, Chew G, Miller RL, Phipatanakul W (2017). JAMA 317(10):1027-36.

Conrad LA, Buchinsky N, Acosta LM, Nugent JD, Savary KW, Miller RL, Emanet N, Herbstman J, Beebe B, Myers MM, Fifer WP, Perzanowski MS (2021) Increased Heart Rate Variability Response Among Infants with Reported Rhinorrhea and Watery Eyes: A Pilot Study. J Asthma Allergy. 9(14):1349-54.

Perzanowski MS, Chew, GL, Divjan A, Jung KH, Ridder R, Tang D, Diaz D, Goldstein IF, Kinney PL, Rundle AG, Camann D, Perera FP, Miller RL (2013). Early-life exposure to cockroach allergen and airborne polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons predict development of sensitization to cockroach among inner-city children. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 131 (3):886-93. [PMCID: PMC3678290]

Mainardi T, Mellins RB, Miller RL, Acosta L, Cornell AG, Hoepner L, Perera FP, Quinn JW, Jacobson JS, Goldstein IF, Rundle AG, Perzanowski MS (2013). Exercise-induced wheeze is a more common phenotype among asthmatics in NYC neighborhoods with high asthma prevalence. Pediatrics. 131(1):e127-35. [PMCID: PMC3529949]

Olmedo OE, Acosta LM, Goldstein IF, Divjan A, Rundle AG, Chew GL, Mellins RB, Hoepner L, Andrews H, Lopez-Pintado S, Quinn JW, Perera FP, Miller RL, Jacobson JS, Perzanowski MS Cockroach, mouse and dust mite allergen exposure and sensitization among children living in high and low asthma prevalence neighborhoods in New York City J Allergy Clin Immunol 128 284-92 2011

Berger, S., Pini, N., Lucchini, M., Nugent, J.D., Acosta, L.M, Angal, J., Rauh, V.A., Elliott, A.J., Myers, M.M., Fifer, W.P., Perzanowski, M.S. (2023) Neonatal Rhinorrhea, Heart Rate Variability and Childhood Exercise-Induced Wheeze. J Allergy Clin Immunol: Global. 2(4):100149 [PMCID: PMC10509928]

Global Health Activities

Obstructive Lung Diseases in Northern Sweden : Dr. Perzanowski was a senior researcher involved with a longitudinal cohort study of pediatric asthma and allergy.

World Health Organization (WHO) Urban Pests and Health Project : Dr. Perzanowski was a scientific contributor to the WHO Urban Pests and Health Project, co-authoring a chapter on asthma and allergy in the urban environment.

Urban Health Activities

NYC Neighborhood Asthma and Allergy Study: Within New York City, the reported prevalence of pediatric asthma and hospitalization rates for asthma vary markedly between adjacent neighborhoods. The NYC Neighborhood Asthma and Allergy Study is examining neighborhood differences in asthma prevalence and asthma persistence to better understand the great difference in asthma risk among children living just city blocks apart. The study team hypothesizes that the differences are due to greater exposure to asthma/allergy environmental triggers, including indoor cockroach and mouse allergens and local sources of combustion byproducts. The study enrolled seven year-old children who reside in NYC and are enrolled in the HIP Health Plan and following them to age ten. This study is novel in that it is examining populations with striking difference in asthma prevalence despite being geographically close (and thus exposed to many of the same things), of a similar income, and with similar access to health care. Recently, the study has been expanded to study domestic fungal exposure, including following Hurricane Sandy, and its relevance to allergic disease and asthma morbidity.

Mold Policy Intervention in New York City Public Housing and Asthma Morbidity: Mold contamination is common in urban homes, disproportionately affects lower-income families who have less control over conditions that cause mold growth and has been clearly linked to increased asthma exacerbations. This project will test the impact on asthma morbidity in adults in children of an innovative mold remediation program being conducted in the largest public housing system in the United States, the New York City Housing Authority, which has more than 365,000 residents. If successful, we will demonstrate the utility of this large-scale public health intervention on asthma morbidity among low-income NYC residents, a community with a high burden of asthma morbidity.