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Troy, N.Y. -  7/5/2016

LRC Director to Take Academic Sabbatical, Figueiro Named Acting Director

Mark Rea, Director of the Lighting Research Center (LRC) at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, will take an academic sabbatical for the upcoming fiscal year, effective July 1, 2016. During this time, Dr. Rea will focus on developing two new LRC initiatives, the Glenn W. Bailey Memorial Fellowship, which supports activities that integrate the business of lighting into the education of graduate students at the LRC, and a program related to plant pathology and horticultural lighting. He will also continue to work on existing funded research projects, such as Warning Beacons for Front Line Service Worker Safety.

Mariana Figueiro, LRC Light & Health Program Director, has been named Acting Director and will lead the center during this time. Dr. Figueiro has been with the LRC for 20 years, where she started as a graduate student in the LRC’s Master of Science in Lighting program. She continued as a staff scientist at the LRC and in 2004, obtained her PhD from Rensselaer. In 2006, she was offered a tenure-track position as an assistant professor and in 2014, was promoted to full professor.

Dr. Figueiro is among the world’s leading experts in the area of light and health, with a focus on bridging basic science to applications. Through her research and publications, she has made a significant impact on this developing field and continues to actively expand her influence through translational research and teaching.  Dr. Figueiro has brought attention to the significance of light and health as a topic of public interest through her recent TEDMED talk, among numerous other invited presentations and outreach. Earlier this year, she was selected to be an invited speaker and panelist at the National Institutes of Health Workshop: Shift Work at Night, Artificial Light at Night, and Circadian Disruption. Her research is regularly featured in national media including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Scientific American, The Economist, and NPR. She is a Principal Investigator in various research projects within the LRC, including two R01 grants from the National Institute on Aging and one R01 grant from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as well as grants from the General Services Administration and the Office of Naval Research.

Dr. Figueiro regularly collaborates with lighting industry leaders such as Acuity Brands, Cree, Current by GE, Ketra, OSRAM, Philips Lighting, and USAI Lighting to bridge the science of light and health to practical applications aimed at improving human quality of life.   

For more information on Figueiro’s research at Rensselaer, visit:

About the Lighting Research Center
The Lighting Research Center (LRC) at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute is the world's leading center for lighting research and education. Established in 1988 by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), the LRC conducts research in light and human health, transportation lighting and safety, solid-state lighting, energy efficiency, and plant health. LRC lighting scientists with multidisciplinary expertise in research, technology, design, and human factors, collaborate with a global network of leading manufacturers and government agencies, developing innovative lighting solutions for projects that range from the Boeing 787 Dreamliner to U.S. Navy submarines to hospital neonatal intensive-care units. In 1990, the LRC became the first university research center to offer graduate degrees in lighting and today, offers a M.S. in lighting and a Ph.D. to educate future leaders in lighting. Learn more at

About Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Founded in 1824, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute is America's first technological research university. Rensselaer encompasses five schools, 32 research centers, more than 145 academic programs, and a dynamic community made up of more than 7,900 students and more than 100,000 living alumni. Rensselaer faculty and alumni include more than 145 National Academy members, six members of the National Inventors Hall of Fame, six National Medal of Technology winners, five National Medal of Science winners, and a Nobel Prize winner in Physics. With nearly 200 years of experience advancing scientific and technological knowledge, Rensselaer remains focused on addressing global challenges with a spirit of ingenuity and collaboration.