Michael Howard Bergin

Sternberg Family Professor of Civil & Environmental Engineering

My general research focus is on the influence of air pollution on both climate and human health. My specific interest is particulate matter (PM), and I have done a wide range of studies on the emission, formation, deposition and impacts of PM. I am particularly interested in how PM impacts climate by modifying the radiation balance of the atmosphere and I have done studies in both pristine regions of the world (Greenland and the Himalaya), as well as hazy regions (the Southeastern US, China, and India). More recently I have been studying the influence of PM on human health with emphasis on determining the relative contributions of sources (such as biomass burning and vehicular emissions) to acute health impacts. I am also involved in developing and deploying the next generation of air quality sensors to inform citizens on the quality of the air they are breathing so that they can make informed decisions to improve their air. My vision involves combining a multidisciplinary, multicultural approach to research and education that brings together researchers from around the world to collectively work together to make the air cleaner.

Appointments and Affiliations

  • Sternberg Family Professor of Civil & Environmental Engineering
  • Professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
  • Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Duke Kunshan University
  • Member of the Duke Cancer Institute

Contact Information

  • Office Location: 127B Hudson Hall, Box 90287, Durham, NC 27708
  • Office Phone: (919) 660-5209
  • Email Address: michael.bergin@duke.edu
  • Websites:


  • B.S. University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, 1987
  • M.S. University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, 1991
  • Ph.D. Carnegie Mellon University, 1995

Research Interests

Aerosols are generated by a variety of natural and anthropogenic sources. I am interested in the processes that emit, transform and deposit particulate matter. A current focus of my research is how particles in the atmosphere directly modify the surface radiation balance of the Earth. This is of importance to the climate of the Earth, as well as plant growth and visibility. We have conducted studies at a variety of polluted urban sites as well as pristine remote sites to understand the contrast between clean and dirty locations. Another interest is the past impacts of aerosols on climate through interpretation of paleorecords archived in ice cores. My work involves a combination of lab and field studies as well as the development of relatively simple mathematical models.

Courses Taught

  • CEE 294: Research Independent Study in Civil and Environmental Engineering
  • CEE 493: Research Independent Study in Civil and Environmental Engineering
  • CEE 575: Air Pollution Engineering
  • CEE 690: Advanced Topics in Civil and Environmental Engineering
  • CEE 692: Independent Study: Advanced Topics in Civil and Environmental Engineering
  • EGR 101L: Engineering Design and Communication
  • EGR 391: Projects in Engineering
  • MENG 550: Master of Engineering Internship/Project
  • MENG 551: Master of Engineering Internship/Project Assessment
  • MENG 552: Master of Engineering Supplemental Internship

In the News

Representative Publications

  • Madhwal, S., S. N. Tripathi, M. H. Bergin, P. Bhave, B. de Foy, T. V. R. Reddy, S. K. Chaudhry, V. Jain, N. Garg, and P. Lalwani. “Evaluation of PM2.5 spatio-temporal variability and hotspot formation using low-cost sensors across urban-rural landscape in lucknow, India (Accepted).” Atmospheric Environment 319 (February 15, 2024). https://doi.org/10.1016/j.atmosenv.2023.120302.
  • Bessa, J. G., M. Valerino, M. Muller, M. Bergin, L. Micheli, F. Almonacid, and E. F. Fernandez. “An Investigation on the Pollen-Induced Soiling Losses in Utility-Scale PV Plants.” IEEE Journal of Photovoltaics 14, no. 1 (January 1, 2024): 178–84. https://doi.org/10.1109/JPHOTOV.2023.3326560.
  • Calhoun, Zachary D., Frank Willard, Chenhao Ge, Claudia Rodriguez, Mike Bergin, and David Carlson. “Estimating the effects of vegetation and increased albedo on the urban heat island effect with spatial causal inference.” Scientific Reports 14, no. 1 (January 2024): 540. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-023-50981-w.
  • Ratnaparkhi, A., D. Dave, R. Meena, N. Rastogi, M. Bergin, and C. Ghoroi. “Is hydrophobic coating on glass equally efficient in reducing % soiling loss of solar PVs in clean and polluted environments?” Solar Energy 265 (November 15, 2023). https://doi.org/10.1016/j.solener.2023.112120.
  • Scott, S. R., P. E. Hailemariam, P. V. Bhave, M. H. Bergin, and D. E. Carlson. “Identifying Waste Burning Plumes Using High-Resolution Satellite Imagery and Machine Learning: A Case Study in the Maldives.” Environmental Science and Technology Letters 10, no. 8 (August 8, 2023): 642–48. https://doi.org/10.1021/acs.estlett.3c00225.