Mariana Figueiro, Lighting Research Center (LRC) Light and Health Program director and associate professor of architecture, has been elected a fellow of the Illuminating Engineering Society (IES). The award was presented at a special ceremony during the IES Annual Conference Oct. 28 in Huntington Beach, Calif.

Mariana Figueiro

Mariana Figueiro

“On behalf of the entire School of Architecture, I would like to congratulate Dr. Figueiro on her election as a fellow of the Illuminating Engineering Society,” said Evan Douglis, dean of the School of Architecture. “This is an appropriate and well-deserved recognition for Mariana’s numerous and significant contributions to the discipline of lighting. She is a brilliant innovator within her area of expertise and we are proud to count her among our distinguished faculty at Rensselaer.”

“Mariana Figueiro is known worldwide as an expert in the field of light and health for her work on light, circadian rhythms, and human performance,” said William Hanley, executive vice president of the Illuminating Engineering Society of North America. “Her work has involved studies in multiple application settings related to these topics, including truck drivers, night shift nurses, and students. Her studies and papers are carefully designed and articulated. In her position at the Lighting Research Center, she plays a key role in the education and mentoring of graduate students who study lighting. She is an excellent speaker and based on her teaching evaluations has rated very high in the classroom by her students. Her contributions to the development of the Daysimeter and examples of its use provide both a tool and protocol for other researchers to apply in their study of the effects of light exposure on people. Her significant contributions to the field of lighting clearly qualify her to receive the honorary award of IES fellow.”

Figueiro is also the recipient of the 2007 NYSTAR James D. Watson Award, the 2008 Office of Naval Research Young Investigator Award, and the 2010 James M. Tien ’66 Early Career Award for Faculty from Rensselaer. She is the author of more than 60 scientific articles in her field of research, along with the AARP-sponsored publication, Lighting the Way: A Key to Independence, which provides guidelines for the design of lighting to meet the needs of older adults. One of her papers was recently chosen for Best of Sleep Medicine 2011: An Annual Collection of Scientific Literature. Figueiro has developed a 24-hour lighting design plan to help improve sleep quality in older adults and has conducted groundbreaking research in the use of lighting to improve postural stability among older populations. She is also working with the U.S. Navy to investigate how light can increase performance and alertness in submariners.

Her work has received funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), including two R01 grants from the National Institute on Aging, and several grants from other NIH Institutes, including the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, National Institute on Drug Abuse, National Cancer Institute, National Institute of Nursing Research, and National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, along with the U.S. Special Operations Command, Naval Submarine Medical Research Laboratory, Office of Naval Research, IES Research Grant, U.S. Green Building Council, U.S. General Services, Philips Lighting, Philips Respironics, Osram Sylvania, GE Lighting, Ketra, Acuity Brands, and Seoul Semiconductor.

Figueiro holds a B.S. in architectural engineering from the Federal University of Minas Gerais, Brazil, and an M.S. in lighting and Ph.D. in multidisciplinary science from Rensselaer.

For more information on Figueiro’s research, visit