Current team members

  • Kyung Hwa (Irene) Jung

    Adjunct Associate Research Scientist

    Kyung Hwa (Irene) Jung received her doctorate training at Rutgers University in the Department of Environmental Science. She has over a decade of experience working on environmental air pollution exposures and pediatric asthma in NYC. She has performed the majority of the data analytical work for multiple NIH funded clinical and translational projects and has extensive experience in the analysis of ambient pollution exposure measures (both personal and publicly available stationary monitoring data) and how that relates to pediatric asthma outcomes. Although she and Dr. Lovinsky-Desir have collaborated for years, Dr. Jung more recently joined the Lovinsky-Desir team to work on the NYC school asthma project.

  • Kira Argenio

    Clinical Research Coordinator

    Kira Argenio (she/her) is a second-year graduate student at CUNY Graduate School of Public Health & Health Policy pursuing an MPH in epidemiology and biostatistics. As an MPH student, Kira interned at the Center for Innovation in Mental Health and the Institute for Implementation Science in Population Health. She has experience as a research grants administrator and research manager and is a member of the American Public Health Association and the Society for Epidemiologic Research. Kira is also passionate about LGBTQ+ health and aims to pursue a PhD in epidemiology. In addition to her work as a coordinator for the entire research team, Kira's current focus is on the PLAY-1 study of childhood air pollution exposure and physical activity in urban communities.

    photos of Kira Argenio
  • Perri Yaniv

    Research Coordinator

    Perri Yaniv has been a part of the Pediatric Pulmonary division’s research team for 11 years, having worked under the Inner City Asthma Consortium as a research assistant and pulmonary technician for 8 ICAC studies, and is now the study coordinator for the Urban Environment and Childhood Asthma observational birth cohort, which is in its 14th year of observation. He has also functioned as an IRB liaison for the department, helping with the review board process with a variety of research studies involving Cystic Fibrosis and early onset of asthma. Currently he is working with Dr. Lovinsky-Desir’s research team on the PLAY2 study to understand how exercise in polluted environments impacts childhood asthma. He has also acted professionally in a variety of independent theater and film projects in the New York City area since 2002; is his official website. He is incredibly grateful to everyone at the Pediatric Pulmonary Department and is constantly thanking his study participants for all their wonderful input.

  • Kimberly Sanchez

    Research Coordinator

    Kimberly Sanchez is originally from Newark, New Jersey, but grew up in Biloxi, Mississippi where she graduated as the valedictorian of Biloxi High School. Her family is from Ecuador, and she speaks Spanish and Portuguese. She is a rising senior at Columbia University majoring in Psychology and on the pre-medical track. She is interested in pursuing an MD/MPH dual-degree. Kimberly’s previous experiences include conducting research about HIV/AIDS in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic and working as a research assistant at the Shohamy Lab at the Zuckerman Institute. Currently, Kimberly is a research coordinator for Dr. Lovinsky-Desir’s PLAY 2 study. In her free time, she enjoys traveling and volunteering as a medical interpreter!

  • James Quinn

    Geographer and Senior Analyst

    James Quinn is a Geographer and Senior GIS Analyst with the Built Environment and Health (BEH) research group ( in the Mailman School of Public Health, Department of Epidemiology, at Columbia University. At BEH, James conducts medical geography research using spatial modeling techniques. His position requires the ability to make connections between the changes in the physical, economic, and social environments, and evaluate their effect on the development of changes in physical activity, patterns of obesity, and health risk. James works on numerous grant-funded research projects simultaneously where he is responsible for the acquisition, management, development, and linkage of retrospective and modern spatial databases measuring neighborhood characteristics with individual-level data. His duties require non-routine analysis, research and follow-through, and writing and synthesis in a multidisciplinary team setting. In addition, James supports other researchers with health-related projects involving a spatial perspective, and collaborates with other colleagues to enhance and promote the use of spatial analysis in teaching and research at Columbia. Currently he is working with Dr. Lovinsky-Desir on several projects to understand neighborhood environmental exposures, especially traffic pollution sources, and the impact on pediatric asthma.

  • Laurie Murray

    Laurie Murraygrew up in Floral Park, New York and attended medical school close to home at the Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra-Northwell in Long Island.   She is currently a pediatrics residency at Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital of New York and hopes to pursue a fellowship in pediatric pulmonology.  She is incredibly happy to be serving the Washington Heights community, especially in her general pediatrics clinic, where she gained a particular interest in pediatric asthma management.  She began working with Dr. Lovinsky-Desir at the end of her intern year and is currently assisting with the PLAY2 study.  She aims to participate in research and advocacy that leads to healthier lifestyles for urban children with asthma, who make up a great deal of her patient population. 

Past Members

  • Michael Montilla

    Research Assistant

    Michael Montilla is a former member of Dr. Lovinsky-Desir’s research team who performed spatial analysis for a study to understand where children in New York City are physically active. He is studying for a Master of Science in Urban Planning degree at Columbia’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation (GSAPP), and he holds an undergraduate degree from Harvard University. 

Research Advisors/Collaborators

Meyer Kattan, MD – Chief, Pediatric Pulmonology
Rachel Miller, MD – Chief, Division of Clinical Immunology, Icahn School of Medicine, Mt Sinai
William Busse, MD – Professor of Medicine and PI, Inner City Asthma Consortium
Steven Chillrud, PhD – Senior Doherty Research Scientist
Jeff Goldsmith, PhD – Assistant Professor, Biostatistics
Robert Garofano, PhD – Director, Pediatric Cardiopulmonary Exercise Laboratory
Aimee Layton, PhD – Director, Adult Cardiopulmonary Exercise Laboratory
Matthew Perzanowski, PhD – Associate Professor, Environmental Health Sciences
Andrew Rundle, DrPH – Associate Professor, Epidemiology