Mariana G. Figueiro

Professor, Director, LRC, Architecture

Mariana G. Figueiro, Ph.D., is Director of the Lighting Research Center (LRC) and Professor of Architecture at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. She has also served as Light and Health Program Director at the LRC since 1999. Dr. Figueiro is well known for her research on the effects of light on human health, circadian photobiology, and lighting for older adults. She holds a bachelor's in architectural engineering from the Federal University of Minas Gerais, Brazil, and a master's in lighting and a doctorate in multidisciplinary science from Rensselaer. Her master's and Ph.D. dissertation research focused on the human circadian response to light. Figueiro is the recipient of the 2007 NYSTAR James D. Watson Award, the 2008 Office of Naval Research Young Investigator Award, and the 2010 Rensselaer James M. Tien '66 Early Career Award. In 2013 she was elected Fellow of the Illuminating Engineering Society. She is the author of more than 80 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. Her research is regularly featured in national media including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and Scientific American. Dr. Figueiro has also brought attention to the significance of light and health as a topic of public interest through her recent TEDMED talk.



B.S. in architecture and urbanism, Federal University of Minas Gerais, Brazil; M.S. in lighting, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute; Ph.D. in Multidisciplinary Science, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Research Focus
  • Photobiology research, light and health, human factors in lighting, non-visual effects of light, circadian phototransduction, effects of light on sleep, effects of light on alertness, lighting for older adults
Select Works
  • Figueiro MG. Disruption of circadian rhythms by light during day and night. Current Sleep Medicine Reports, 2017; doi:10.1007/s40675-017-0069-0
  • Acosta I, Leslie RP, Figueiro MG. Analysis of circadian stimulus allowed by daylighting in hospital rooms. Lighting Research & Technology. 2017; 49(1):49-61.
  • Figueiro MG, Radetsky L, Plitnick B, Rea MS. Glucose tolerance in mice exposed to light–dark stimulus patterns mirroring dayshift and rotating shift schedules. Scientific Reports. 2017; 7:40661.
  • Rea MS, Figueiro, MG. The NICU Lighted Environment. Newborn and Infant Nursing Reviews. 2016; 16(4):195-202.
  • Figueiro, MG, Overington, D. Self-luminous devices and melatonin suppression in adolescents. Lighting Research & Technology. 2016; 48(8):966-975.
  • Figueiro MG. Light, sleep, and circadian rhythms in older adults with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias. Neurodegenerative Disease Management. 2016; In press.
  • Rea MS, Figueiro MG. Light as a circadian stimulus for architectural lighting. Lighting Research and Technology. 2016. In press
  • Figueiro MG, Rea MS. Office lighting and personal light exposures in two seasons: impact on sleep and mood. Lighting Research & Technology. 2016; 48(3):352-364.