University of Utah chemical engineering associate professor Heather A. Holmes is one of three distinguished scientists who was appointed to the Health Effects Institute Research Committee.

The committee, along with the institute’s Review Committee, performs distinct and  independent roles to ensure the quality and integrity of HEI’s research. The Research Committee oversees new and ongoing research projects while the Review Committee critically reviews the results. Members can serve a maximum of two four-year terms.

The Boston-based HEI is an independent research organization that provides scientific information and data on the health effects of air pollution.

Holmes received her bachelor’s degree from Montana State University and a master’s and doctorate from the University of Utah, all in mechanical engineering. She was a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Hamburg and the Georgia Institute of Technology before becoming an assistant professor in the atmospheric sciences program at the University of Nevada, Reno, in 2014.

Her research group uses ground-based sensors, atmospheric models, and satellite remote sensing to investigate atmospheric physics, air pollution sources, transport and dispersion, and provide data for human health and public policy assessments. Her goal is to improve models used in air quality warning systems that protect people from poor air quality due to wildfire smoke and temperature inversions, both common in the western U.S.

With funding from the National Science Foundation, she is developing new atmospheric models to improve air quality forecasts of wildfire smoke in mountainous regions. She also has funding from the National Institutes of Health to investigate the health impacts of wildfire smoke exposure in Reno, Nevada.