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
  • Affiliate, Duke Global Health Institute

Contact Information

  • Office Location: 127B Hudson Hall, Box 90287, Durham, NC 27708
  • Office Phone: +1 919 660 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

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

In the News

Representative Publications

  • He, Linchen, Christina Norris, Kimberly Palaguachi-Lopez, Karoline Barkjohn, Zhen Li, Feng Li, Yinping Zhang, Marilyn Black, Michael H. Bergin, and Junfeng Jim Zhang. “Nasal oxidative stress mediating the effects of colder temperature exposure on pediatric asthma symptoms.” Pediatric Research, April 2024. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41390-024-03196-2.
  • Lin, Yan, Xiangtian Wang, Ruoxue Chen, Tenley Weil, Yihui Ge, Heather M. Stapleton, Michael H. Bergin, and Junfeng Jim Zhang. “Arachidonic Acid Metabolites in Self-collected Biospecimens Following Campfire Exposure: Exploring Non-invasive Biomarkers of Wildfire Health Effects.” Environmental Science & Technology Letters 11, no. 3 (March 2024): 201–7. https://doi.org/10.1021/acs.estlett.3c00923.
  • 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.” Atmospheric Environment 319 (February 15, 2024). https://doi.org/10.1016/j.atmosenv.2023.120302.
  • 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.
  • 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.