Heald’s research interests span the topics of global atmospheric composition and chemistry and climate. Her work in biosphere-atmosphere interactions, aerosol sources and transformations and the connections between atmospheric chemistry and climate has led to ground breaking studies that involve the observation of the atmosphere from scales including ground stations, aircraft campaigns and satellite sensors with global models of chemistry and climate. In a recent study, Heald demonstrated how climate change and air pollution will collude to curb crop yields threatening global food security.
Heald, who is Mitsui Career Development Associate Professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and the Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences, received her undergraduate degree in Engineering Physics from Queen’s University in Canada in 2000. She obtained her Ph.D. in Earth and Planetary Sciences from Harvard University in 2005, under the direction of Prof. Daniel J. Jacob. She was a recipient of both the Canadian NSERC Postgraduate Scholarship and the NASA Earth System Science Graduate Fellowship. Her thesis focused on transpacific transport of pollution and the use of inverse modeling to estimate emissions from aircraft and satellite observations. She was a recipient of the NOAA Global and Climate Change Postdoctoral Fellowship, which supported her research at the University of California Berkeley from 2006 through 2007, with Prof. Allen Goldstein and Prof. Inez Fung. She became an Assistant Professor in the Department of Atmospheric Science at Colorado State University in 2008 and moved to MIT in January of 2012.