Pulmonary & Critical Care Fellowship Program
MGH BIDMC Harvard Medical School

Peggy Lai


Peggy Lai, MD, MPH

Assistant Professor in Medicine

Areas of Expertise: Investigation

Academic Interests

Dr. Lai’s research focuses on the contribution of indoor microbial exposures to the development or exacerbation of chronic obstructive lung diseases like asthma or COPD. In particular, she is interested in how the indoor microbiome influences the human microbiome leading to effects on pulmonary health. She has a secondary interest in the contribution of kerosene-based lighting to indoor air pollution in resource-limited settings, and is the PI of a randomized controlled trial of solar lighting in rural Uganda. She also has a secondary interest in the use of "big data" to inform clinical decision making in the intensive care unit. Dr. Lai's primary appointment is within the Division or Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine at MGH, she has secondary appointments in the Department of Environmental Health at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health where she works with collaborators to design low-cost air quality monitoring equipment, and she also has a secondary appointment at Boston Children's Hospital.

Awards and Recognition

David Bates Award, Assembly of Environmental, Occupational, and Population Health, American Thoracic Society (2014)

Academic Editor, PLOS One (2018 - )

Guest Editor, Clinics in Chest Medicine (2019)

Co-chair, Early Career Working Group, Assembly of Environmental, Occupational, and Population Health, American Thoracic Society (2017 – 2019)

Member, Program and Planning Committee, Assembly of Environmental, Occupational, and Population Health, American Thoracic Society (2017 – )


A full list of Dr. Lai's published work can be found on My Bibliography.

More information can be found on Dr. Lai's Harvard Catalyst Profile.




+Current Projects

  • The school microbiome and asthma morbidity in inner-city children (ClinicalTrials.gov NCT02291302)
  • Solar lighting intervention trial to reduce household air pollution in rural Uganda (ClinicalTrials.gov NCT03351504)
  • One health: Transmission of microbes and antimicrobial resistance genes between humans and chickens. A randomized controlled trial of small-scale chicken farms in rural Uganda (ClinicalTrials.gov NCT02619227)
  • Effect of supplemental oxygen on lung microbes

+Selected Publications

  1. Lai PS, Fresco JM, Pinilla MA, Macias AA, Brown RD, Englert JA, Hofmann O, Lederer JA, Hide W, Christiani DC, Cernadas M, Baron RM. Chronic endotoxin exposure produces airflow obstruction and lung dendritic cell expansion. Am J Respir Cell Mol Biol. 2012 Aug;47(2):209 - 17. PMID: 22517795. PMCID: PMC3423463.
  2. Lai PS, Matteau A, Iddriss A, Hawes JC, Ranieri VM, Thompson BT. An updated meta - analysis to understand the variable efficacy of drotrecogin alfa, (activated) in severe sepsis and septic shock. Minerva Anestesiol. 2013 Jan;79(1):33 - 43. PMID: 23174922. PMCID: PMC3725305.
  3. Mayaud L, Lai PS, Clifford GD, Tarassenko L, Celi LA, Annane DJ. Dynamic data during hypotensive episode improves mortality predictions among patients with sepsis and hypotension. Crit Care Med. 2013 Apr;41(4):954 - 962. PMID: 23385106. PMCID: PMC3609896. *co - first authors
  4. Lai PS, Hofmann O, Baron RM, Cernadas M, Meng QR, Bresler HS, Brass DM, Yang IV, Schwartz DA, Christiani DC, Hide W. Integrating murine gene expression studies to understand obstructive lung disease due to chronic inhaled endotoxin. PLOS ONE 2013 May 13;8(5):e62910. PMID: 23675439. PMCID: PMC365282.
  5. Lai PS, Hang JQ, Zhang FY, Lin X, Zheng BY, Dai HL, Su L, Cai T, Christiani DC. Gender differences in the effect of occupational endotoxin exposure on impaired lung function and death: the Shanghai Textile Worker Study. Occup Environ Med 2014 Feb;71(2):118-25. PMID: 24297825. PMCID: PMC4033669.
  6. Lai PS, Hang JQ, Valeri L, Zhang FY, Zheng BY, Mehta AJ, Shi J, Su L, Brown D, Eisen EA, Christiani DC. Endotoxin and gender modify lung function recovery after occupational organic dust exposure: a 30 - year study. Occup Environ Med. 2015 Aug;72(8):546 - 52. PMID: 25666844. PMCID: PMC4506722.
  7. Lai PS, Liang LM, Cibas ES, Liu AH, Gold DR, Baccrelli A, Phipatanakul W. Alternate methods of nasal epithelial cell sampling for airway genomic studies. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2015 Oct;136(4):1120 - 1123. PMID: 26037550. PMCID: PMC4600430.
  8. Lai PS, Sheehan WJ, Gaffin JM, Petty CR, Coull BA, Gold DR, Phipatanakul W. School endotoxin exposure and asthma morbidity in inner - city children. Chest. 2015 Nov 1;148(5):1251 - 8. PMID: 26087201. PMCID: PMC4631040.
  9. Shrime MG, Ferket BS, Scott DJ, Lee J, Barragan - Bradford D, Pollard T, Arabi YM, Al - Dorzi HM, Baron RM, Hunink MG, Celi LA, Lai PS. Time - Limited Trials of Intensive Care for Critically Ill Patients With Cancer: How Long Is Long Enough? JAMA Oncology. 2016 Jan 1;2(1):76 - 83. PMID: 26469222. PMCID: PMC4713248.
  10. Lai PS, Hang JQ, Zhang FY, Sun J, Zheng BY, Su L, Washko GR, Christiani, DC. Imaging phenotype of occupational endotoxin - related lung function decline. Environmental Health Perspectives. 2016 Sep;124(9):1436 - 42. PMID: 27138294. PMCID: PMC5010398.
  11. White MC, Horner KC, Lai PS. Retrospective Review of the Anaesthetic Management of Maxillectomies and Mandibulectomies for Benign Tumours in Sub - Saharan Africa. PLoS One. 2016 Oct 27;11(10):e0165090. PMID: 27788172. PMCID: PMC5082919.
  12. Sheehan WJ, Permaul P, Petty CR, Coull BA, Baxi SN, Gaffin JM, Lai PS, Gold DR, Phipatanakul W. Association Between Allergen Exposure in Inner-City Schools and Asthma Morbidity Among Students. JAMA Pediatr. 2017 Jan 1;171(1):31-38.. PMID: 27893060. PMCID: in progress.
  13. Jhun I, Gaffin JM, Coull BA, Huffaker MF, Petty CR, Sheehan WJ, Baxi SN, Lai PS, Kang CM, Wolfson JM, Gold DR, Koutrakis P, Phipatanakul W. School Environmental Intervention to Reduce Particulate Pollutant Exposures for Children with Asthma. J Allergy Clin Immunol Pract. 2017 Jan - Feb;5(1):154-159. PMID: 27641483. PMCID: PMC5222771.
  14. White MC, Longstaff L, Lai PS. Effect of preoperative anaemia on postoperative complications in low resource settings: Republic of Congo and Madagascar. World Journal of Surgery. World J Surg. 2017; 41(3):644-649. PMID: 27837236. PMCID: in progress.
  15. Muyanja D, Allen JG, Valeri L, Kakuhikire B, Bangsberg DR, Christiani DC, Tsai AC, Lai PS. Kerosene lighting contributes to household air pollution in rural Uganda. Indoor Air. 2017 Sep;27(5):1022-1029. PMID: 28267233. PMCID: PMC5568944.
  16. Lai PS, Allen JG, Hutchinson DS, Ajami NJ, Petrosino JF, Winters T, Hug C, Wartenberg GR, Vallarino J, Christiani DC. Impact of environmental microbiota on human microbiota of workers in academic mouse research facilities: An observational study. PLoS One. 2017 Jul 13;12(7):e0180969. PMID: 28704437. PMCID: PMC5509249.
  17. Lai PS, Massoud AH, Xia M, Petty CR, Cunningham A, Chatila TA, Phipatanakul W. Gene-environment interaction between an IL4R variant and school endotoxin exposure contributes to asthma symptoms in inner-city children. J Allergy Clin Immunol. In press. PMID: 28943468
  18. Gaffin JM, Hauptman M, Petty CR, Sheehan WJ, Lai PS, Wolfson JM, Gold DR, Coull BA, Koutrakis P, Phipatanakul W. Nitrogen dioxide exposure in school classrooms of inner-city children with asthma. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2017 Oct 5. pii: S0091-6749(17)31570-1. doi: 10.1016/j.jaci.2017.08.028. [Epub ahead of print]. PMID: 28988796.
  19. Lai PS, Bebell LM, Meney C, Valeri L, White MC. Epidemiology of antibiotic-resistant wound infections from six countries in Africa. BMJ Global Health. Accepted 2018 Jan 10.
  20. Lai PS, Kolde R, Franzosa EA, Gaffin JM, Baxi SN, Sheehan WJ, Gold DR, Gevers D, Xavier RJ, Phipatanakul W. The classroom microbiome and asthma morbidity in children attending three inner-city schools. J Allergy Clin Immunol. Accepted February 20, 2018.