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CHCI faculty in MLSoC and Tour on FRI Feb 10

January 30, 2023

CHCI has multiple faculty members who are in the Myers-Lawson School of Construction (MLSoC): Brian Kleiner (also Director of MLSoC), Philip Agee, Abiola Akanmu, Xinghua Gao, Farrokh Jazizadeh, Nazila Roofigari-Esfahan, and Ruichuan Zhang, who are all highlighted here. 

These MLSoC/CHCI faculty will host a tour of MLSoC for CHCI faculty and students on Friday, February 10 from 1 to 2 pm at Bishop-Favrao Hall (Third Floor) 1345 Perry St.  Please come learn more about their interdisciplinary research on the built environment and human-computer interaction!

MLSoC is a leader in smart design and construction, human-centered issues such as safety, and project and infrastructure management.


We are a constant beacon for innovation and excellence in construction discovery and research; outreach and engagement; and education and training.


We will produce the future transformative leaders of the built environment, will lead design and improvement of the future construction supply chain, and will develop a better tomorrow through our service to society, and the world.

Brian Kleiner is the Director of MLSoC. The MLSoC Programs in which the other CHCI faculty members are affiliated are Building Construction and Construction Engineering and Management. Below we highlight each of the MLSoC/CHCI faculty and their research.

MLSoC/CHCI Faculty

Brian Kleiner
Brian Kleiner | Professor and Director MLSoC

Expertise: Socio-technical Systems; Safety; Health; Performance; Automation; Collaborative Design; Organizational Engineering Design

Brian Kleiner is a professor in the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering, and founding director of the Center for Innovation in Construction Safety and Health, a core research unit affiliated with the Myers-Lawson School of Construction. He is immediate past director of the Human Factors Engineering and Ergonomics Center, and currently directs the Macroergonomics and Group Decision Systems Laboratory in the Grado Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering. Kleiner’s interest in the socio-technical nature of work systems and safety is supported by his educational training in both psychology and engineering. His research interests focus on systems or macro-ergonomics (human-systems integration) for improved safety, health and performance.

Philip Agee
Philip Agee | Assistant Professor

Expertise: Human Factors Engineering; Building Science; Human-building Interaction; Zero Energy Buildings

Philip Agee is an assistant professor of Building Construction and research faculty for the Virginia Center for Housing Research (VCHR). He has a combined 15+ years of fieldwork, design consulting, building diagnostics/analytics, and research experience in the built environment. His research focuses on applying human factors engineering methods to the construction industry. He received a BS in Biology from Hampden-Sydney College, a MS in Building Construction Science and Management and a MS in Industrial and Systems Engineering at Virginia Tech. Agee earned his PhD at Virginia Tech in the Grado Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering.

Abiola Akanmu
Abiola Akanmu | Associate Professor

Expertise: Cyberlearning and Training; Workforce Health and Safety; Cyber-Physical Systems; Artificial Intelligence; Sensing Systems; Wearable Robots

Abiola Akanmu is an associate professor in the Myers-Lawson School of Construction. She received her PhD degree in Architectural Engineering (Construction Management) from Pennsylvania State University and MSc in Structural Engineering and BEng in Civil Engineering from Bayero University Kano, Nigeria. Prior to joining Virginia Tech, she was an Assistant Professor in the Department of Civil and Construction Engineering at Western Michigan University.  

Akanmu is interested in applying intelligence to the design, construction and maintenance of infrastructure systems, and workforce development using emerging technologies and techniques. Akanmu’s research has been supported by State and Federal agencies, such as the National Science Foundation, the Center for Construction Research and Training, Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning, and Private agencies, such as Trimble Technologies and Allan Myers.

Xinghau Gao
Xinghau Gao | Assistant Professor

Expertise: Smart And Connected Communities; Machine Learning; Internet Of Things; Renewable Energy; Occupant Behavior; Building Information Modelling

Xinghua Gao is an assistant professor with the Myers-Lawson School of Construction. He received his PhD in Building Construction and his MSc in Computational Science and Engineering from Georgia Institute of Technology, and his MSc in Structural Engineering from Cardiff University in the UK, and a BEng in Civil Engineering from Central South University, China. Prior to pursuing his PhD, he worked as a structural/Building Information Modeling (BIM) engineer at the China Institute of Building Standard Design & Research. Gao’s research interests lie in BIM and Internet of Things (IoT)-enabled smart built environments that encompass automated data collection, analysis, and visualization for more efficient, effective, sustainable, and secure construction and facilities management.

Farrokh Jazizadeh
Farrokh Jazizadeh | Associate Professor

Expertise: Energy, Human-building interaction, Human-Centered Infrastructure, Adaptive Environments, Renewable Energy Technologies, Machine Learning, System Integration

Farrokh Jazizadeh is an associate professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Virginia Tech with a focus on informatics for intelligent and adaptive environments and infrastructure systems and the founding director of INFORM Lab. He received his PhD in Civil Engineering with an emphasis on Informatics for Intelligent Built Environment, MSc in Computer Science, and MSc in Civil Engineering from the University of Southern California. He has also received BSc and MSc from IUT and AUT in Iran, respectively. Jazizadeh’s research looks at the intersection of applied machine learning, system integration for adaptive environments, human-building interactions, energy efficiency, digital twins, and infrastructure operational analytics.

Nazila Roofigari-Esfahan
Nazila Roofigari-Esfahan | Assistant Professor

Expertise: Technology-Enhanced/Immersive Workforce Education and Training; Construction Health and Safety; Human-Centered Cyber-Physical Systems; Smart Wearables; Human-Building Interaction

Nazila Roofigari-Esfahan is an assistant professor in the Department of Building Construction, Myers-Lawson School of Construction at Virginia Tech, and a member of CHCI’s Executive Committee. Before moving to Virginia Tech, she worked as a postdoctoral associate at the University of Florida. She received her MSc and PhD in Construction Engineering and Management and Civil Engineering from Concordia University and McMaster University in Canada. Roofigari-Efsahan’s research pursuit is geared toward application of emerging technologies in the construction industry, to enhance workforce development and automating building and infrastructure construction processes. Particularly, her research focuses on the impact of smart technologies of workers, and how human-centered Cyber-Physical Systems and smart systems can augment construction workers’ safety and wellbeing, while also improving safety, knowledge management and real-time decision making in construction worksites.

Ruichuan Zhang
Ruichuan Zhang | Assistant Professor

Expertise: Machine Learning; Natural Language Processing and Understanding; Data Analytics; Building Information Modeling

Ruichuan Zhang is an assistant professor in the Myers-Lawson School of Construction. Zhang earned both his PhD degree in Civil Engineering with Computational Science and Engineering concentration and MS degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. He earned his BM degree in Management Science and Engineering from the Central University of Finance and Economics in China. He has research interests in data analytics and artificial intelligence for resilient and sustainable built environments, including machine learning, natural language processing and understanding, building information modeling (BIM) and digital twins, Internet of things (IoT), and human-centered approaches.