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Kabindra Shakya, PhD - Villanova University. Villanova, PA, US

Kabindra Shakya, PhD

Associate Professor of Environmental Science | Villanova University


Professor Kabindra Shakya, Ph.D. research on air pollution, heavy metal pollution in urban soils, and environmental justice issues.






Biodiversity in Our Neighborhood: An Overview of Air Quality in the Greater Philadelphia Region



Areas of Expertise (4)

Air Pollution

Particulate Matter

Environmental Justice

Lead Contamination in Soil


Dr. Shakya is an environmental scientist whose work encompasses investigating outdoor and indoor air quality in Philadelphia region, United States, and developing countries. His past work includes monitoring particulate matter, nitrogen oxides, ozone, and ammonia in Philadelphia region and Philadelphia subways, analyzing long term trends of indoor radon concentrations in Pennsylvania, and assessing soil lead exposures in community gardens across Pennsylvania. His interests include environmental health and environmental justice issues.

Education (1)

Rice University: Ph.D., Atmospheric Chemistry 2011

Affiliations (3)

  • International Society of Exposure Science : Member, 2014 - Present
  • Upper Merion Environmental Advisory Council : Member, 2018 - Present
  • CCATE, Norristown : Board Member, 2021 - Present

Select Media Appearances (3)

EPA sets stricter air emission rules for 3 Philly-area polluters and dozens of others nationwide

WHYY  online


Advocates and experts view the rules as a win for environmental justice. People living near the facilities covered by the rules are disproportionately low-income or people of color, the EPA found. Most of the facilities that will fall under the new rules are in Louisiana or Texas. “African American, minority communities are impacted disproportionately from this kind of pollution,” said Kabindra Shakya, a professor at Villanova University who studies air and soil pollution. “The risk for them hopefully will be reduced by this new rule.”

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New EPA soot standard could bring healthier air to parts of the Philly region

WHYY  online


“I want to emphasize how good this is,” said Kabindra Shakya, a professor at Villanova University who studies air pollution. “This [will help] us — and not only us, but future generations — to breathe better air. … This is one of the great incentives for us to … leave them with a better environment.”

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Growing veggies in the city this year? You may want to check your soil

Environmental Health News  online


Kabindra M. Shakya, a professor in the geography and the environment department at Villanova who led the study, became aware that some Philadelphia residents were concerned about soil on a lot they wanted to grow vegetables on. “They were to make a community garden and they had heard of lead being a concern. They were trying to send some soil for analysis,” he told EHN. The gardens tested in Pittsburgh were all in urban areas and generally less than an acre in size. The researchers noted that many of the sites formerly contained smelters or other industrial operations.

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Research Grants (12)

Overbrook Breathe Right Community Air Monitoring Project

United States Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) $130,529 (Total: $333,121)

2023 - 2025

Establishment of a community based participatory research (CBPR) program to manage lead exposure risks in a Hispanic neighborhood.

VERITAS Award (Villanova University) $20,000

2022 - 2024

AGILE grant to support visiting undergraduate student

Villanova University $20,000

Summer 2022 and 2023

VITAL Minigrant

Villanova University 


Faculty Research and Development Grant

Villanova University 

2019 and 2022

Enhancing the augmented reality sandbox’s software and hardware to support quantitative simulation for STEM education

National Science Foundation (NSF) $300,000

2022 - 2025

An immersive urban environmental geochemistry research experience as a pathway to careers in the geosciences

National Science Foundation (NSF) $399,155

2021-2024 Goldsmith, S., Shakya, K.M. [Co-PI], Boschi, V., Marco-Bujosa, L.

Cellular effects of subway air particles in human lung cells

National Institutes of Health (NIH) $346,692

2021 - 2024

The multi-dimensional structure of urban landscapes and the supply and distribution of ecosystem services

National Science Foundation (NSF) $200,007

2018 - 2022


Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection 

2019 - 2023

Summer Grant Program

Villanova University 

2020 - 2021

Summer Grant Program

Villanova University 

2017 - 2018

Select Academic Articles (6)

Long term trend of particulate matter in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and its association with introduction of environmental policies

Discover Cities

2024 Since the 1970s, air quality has improved at the national level in the United States, coincident with the introduction of the Clean Air Act and other air pollution regulations at a greater frequency. We present a case study from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania—the sixth most populous city in the United States. The main objectives of this study are to analyze long-term trends of particulate matter (PM) from 1986 to 2021 in Philadelphia and to examine their association with the introduction of environmental policies relevant to air pollution at the federal, state, and local levels.

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Monitoring gaseous pollutants using passive sampling in the Philadelphia region

Journal of the Air & Waste Management Association

2023 Air pollution can have deleterious impacts on human health and the environment. Historically, air pollution studies have focused more on cities. However, it is also important to consider the impact on large suburban populations living closer to the major cities. In this study, nitrogen oxides (nitrogen dioxide and nitric oxide), sulfur dioxide, ozone, and ammonia concentrations were measured from fifteen sites in the Greater Philadelphia area, Pennsylvania, USA using Ogawa passive samplers from September 2021 to May 2022.

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Soil contamination in community gardens of Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Environmental Monitoring and Assessment

2023 Community gardens have been seen sprouting up in and around urban settings such as Philadelphia and Pittsburgh over the past several decades. Due to the long histories of industrial activities and urbanization, these soils in urban regions may be at a high risk for various contaminants such as metals and metalloids. Using inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS), we measured 7 elements (lead (Pb), zinc (Zn), copper (Cu), vanadium (V), cadmium (Cd), nickel (Ni), and arsenic (As)) in soil samples collected from a total of 21 community gardens in Philadelphia City, Philadelphia suburban areas, and Pittsburgh City during September and October 2021.

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Spatial and temporal variations in indoor radon concentrations in Pennsylvania, USA from 1988 to 2018

Journal of Environmental Radioactivity

2021 Indoor radon poses one of the most significant environmental threats to public health as it is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States. Developing a more thorough understanding of the factors that affect radon concentrations is key for developing risk maps, identifying where testing should be a priority, and education about indoor radon exposure. The objectives of this study are to investigate seasonal and annual variation of indoor radon concentrations in Pennsylvania, USA from 1988 to 2018, to explore the hotspot areas for high indoor radon concentrations, and to analyze the association with various factors such as weather conditions, housing types, and floor levels.

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Commuter exposure to particulate matter at underground subway stations in Philadelphia

Building and Environment

2020 We present the first report of exposure to particulate matter by commuters at 12 underground subway stations in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA. Particle measurements were taken during two springtime periods: March 4 to 9, 2018 and February 1 to April 12, 2019. Particle concentrations were variable across the subway stations and demonstrated high temporal variability (daily and yearly) at the underground subway stations with mean PM2.5 and PM10 concentrations of 54.6 ± 34.1 and 61.6 ± 38.9 μg/m3, respectively in 2018, and 45.1 ± 27.8 and 53.6 ± 32.7 μg/m3, respectively, in 2019.

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Mobile monitoring of air and noise pollution in Philadelphia neighborhoods during summer 201

Environmental Pollution

2019 Mobile monitoring is a useful approach for measuring intra-urban variation of air pollution in urban environments. In this study, we used a mobile monitoring approach to study the spatial-temporal variability of air and noise pollution in urban neighborhoods of Philadelphia. During summer 2017, we used portable instruments to measure PM2.5, black carbon (BC), and noise levels along 5 km paths in four residential neighborhoods (Tioga, Mill Creek, Chestnut Hill, and Northern Liberties) and one commercial district (Center City) in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA.

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