Meet the BioBE/ESBL Team:

Denise Blankenberger

Denise is a Track II graduate architecture student at the University of Oregon with a focus on design technology. She received her undergraduate architecture degree with an emphasis on sustainability from Ball State University in 2016, to which she credits her rigorous design process and understanding of sustainable design. Denise began collaborating with ESBL through an independent study in January 2017, and has since been investigating annual daylighting metrics. She is also currently studying the impact of glare in aquatics facilities in regards to lifeguards’ visibility for swimmer safety. Denise is highly motivated by the potential of researching light in architecture and is interested in the combination of passive and dynamic systems to create healthy, engaging environments.

GZ “Charlie” Brown

G.Z. “Charlie” Brown, Philip H. Knight Professor of Architecture, is an internationally recognized educator, author, and researcher on sustainability and energy use in buildings. He has been a Fulbright scholar in Norway and in Nigeria. Brown received both the PLEA Award and the Philip H. Knight Professor of Architecture Award in 2009. He received the Cascadia Fellows Lifetime Achievement Award in 2008 and the U.S. Green Buildings Council 2005 Leadership Award in research for his work on sustainable building practices. He was elected to the College of Fellows of the American Institute of Architects in 2006, and selected as a Fellow by the American Solar Energy Society in 2005. Brown has been honored by the Architectural Research Center Consortium with the James Haecker Distinguished Leadership Award in Architectural Research (2000).

A faculty member of the University of Oregon since 1977, he has taught Computer-Aided Architectural Design, Architectural Design, Environmental Control Systems, Daylighting, and Climate Analysis. He is author and co-author, respectively, of two books: Sun, Wind and Light: Architectural Design Strategies (2nd edition, 2000) and InsideOut: Design Procedures for Passive Environmental Technologies (2nd edition, 1992). He also co-authored the software Energy Scheming 1.0, 2.0, 3.0, SIP Scheming, Auto Architect Energy, and Trane Energy. Brown has worked in the area of industrialized housing since 1989. As part of the industrialized housing effort, he has developed a new floor and foundation system and several improvements to stressed skin insulating core panels. Brown holds graduate degrees in industrial design, business and architecture.

Since he joined the University of Oregon faculty, Brown has been principal investigator on more than $16 million of externally funded research. The lab has supported more than 200 graduate research assistants and provided design assistance in energy-conscious design on over 17 million square feet of buildings in the U.S. and abroad, on a wide range of building types. He has worked with the major architectural firms in the Northwest.

Ashkaan Fahimipour

Dr. Fahimipour has a PhD in ecology, and is a Research Assistant Professor of Computational Biology in the Biology & the Built Environment Center at the University of Oregon. His research combines computational, mathematical and experimental tools to understand how complex ecological systems form, change through time and collapse.

Jessica Green

Dr. Jessica Green is a Biology Professor the University of Oregon, where she is Founding Director of the Biology and the Built Environment Center (BioBE), and External Faculty at the Santa Fe Institute. She is also Chief Technology Officer at Phylagen Inc., a venture backed microbiome data analytics company. She is an engineer and ecologist who specializes in biodiversity theory and microbial systems. She uses interdisciplinary approaches at the interface of microbiology, ecology, mathematics, informatics, and computer science to understand and model complex ecosystems with trillions of diverse microorganisms interacting with each other, with humans, and with the environment.

She is internationally recognized for her research in microbiome science and technology, with highly cited articles in Nature, Science, and the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and is frequently quoted in business publications such as the Wall Street Journal, Forbes, and NPR. She has received numerous awards including a Blaise Pascal International Research Chair, a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship, and a TED Senior Fellowship.

Jessica received a Ph.D. in Nuclear Engineering from University of California Berkeley, an M.S. in Civil and Environmental Engineering from UC Berkeley, and a B.S. in Civil and Environmental Engineering, Magna Cum Laude from UCLA.

Suzanne Ishaq

Dr. Sue Ishaq is a microbial ecologist who integrates host-associated microbiomes, agriculture-related microbiomes, microbial ecology, and bioinformatics into her research. She obtained her doctorate in Animal, Nutrition and Food Science from the University of Vermont, Dept. of Animal Science in March, 2015, where she focused on the rumen microbiology of the moose using a variety of wet and dry-lab techniques. For the past two years, she was a post-doctoral researcher at Montana State University in the Animal and Range Sciences Department as well as the Land Resources and Environmental Sciences Department, where her main teaching and research focus was bioinformatic analysis of microbial diversity data for collaborative projects. She has previously worked on bacteria, archaea, fungi, and protozoa, in a variety of ecosystems: soil, water, and especially the digestive tract of humans and animals. Sue is officially joining the BioBE center in June, where she will apply her expertise in host-microbial interactions to projects within the built environment.

You can follow Sue’s research on her professional blog,, as well as through Research Gate, Facebook, or Twitter.

Jeff Kline

Educated and trained as an architect, I have been conducting research, consulting with design professionals and owners, innovating new building systems, and educating at ESBL for 24 years. I am passionate about finding ways to reduce human impacts on the planet’s systems that sustain life. The lab’s interdisciplinary collaborations are especially stimulating and intellectually challenging in this regard. In recent years we have been working with microbiologists, ecologists, and behavioral scientists to link energy efficiency strategies to health. I have provided energy design assistance on more than 100 buildings and worked with institutional owners with combined portfolios of over 1500 buildings. While at ESBL I have published design tools in both software and paper formats, co-authored a book and many peer-reviewed architectural and scientific papers, taught studio, seminars, and workshops, and co-invented a heat exchanger and a weather-responsive shade control system, both patented. Prior to joining the lab, I worked in architectural firms on a broad range of building types and sizes, including new construction, remodeling, and forensic investigations of building failures.

Serena Lim

Serena began working at the ESBL as a Graduate Research Fellow in December 2015. She supports the development of energy strategies for projects in their schematic and design development phases, and her research focuses on daylighting and visual comfort.

Serena earned a liberal arts degree with a focus on visual art and media production from Evergreen State College in 2008. After graduating, she worked as a freelance designer, substitute teacher, and fine textiles restorationist. During that time, she also managed the commercial property where her father once operated his architecture firm, and co-founded a small, family-owned and operated artist studio, Oxtail Studio & Gallery. These experiences culminated in the decision to pursue a career in architecture that would integrate the desire to work in a creative field with a passion for environmental stewardship and beautiful, functional spaces. Serena worked as a junior designer at Goring & Straja Architects in Berkeley before starting the Track 1 M.Arch program at University of Oregon. Originally from Berkeley, California, Serena enjoys a diversity of people, food, music, art and terrain. She loves drawing, and has been studying Polynesian dance since she was 8 years old.

Andrew Loia

Andrew is a Track I Master of Architecture student at UO’s Eugene campus and has been with the Energy Studies lab since December 2015. And rew’s research focuses on heavy/engineered timber construction, and monitoring the health and performance of heavy timber products under various climatic conditions. He is currently working on a collaborative research project between the University of Oregon and Oregon State University, entitled Structural Health Monitoring and Post-Occupancy Performance of Mass Timber Buildings. In addition, Andrew supports research and design improvement recommendations for proposed building projects during their design development stages. Other research areas of interest include natural daylighting, natural ventilation, building thermal and energy performance, and stormwater management. Andrew has assisted with projects for the proposed Eugene City Hall and Springfield’s proposed CLT parking garage. Prior to enrolling at the University of Oregon, Andrew worked as a civil engineer in the greater Washington, D.C. and Boston, MA areas, earning his professional license in 2012. While his undergraduate studies at Bucknell University focused on structural design, his professional experience concentrated on the design of site infrastructure and stormwater management. Andrew provided site civil design services on numerous projects throughout the Mid-Atlantic and New England regions, including work on commercial, institutional, single- and multi-family residential, and mixed-use projects ranging from 1-acre pad-sites to 50-acre+ public and private campuses. He was also directly responsible for onsite

coordination of construction and management of contractors for the Giant Fuel Station program in the

Mid-Atlantic region, as well as large campus developments in Massachusetts.

Alen Mahic

Alen Mahic is a Research Assistant at the Energy Studies in Buildings Laboratory at the University of Oregon in Eugene, OR. He holds a Master of Architecture degree from the University of Idaho and has been a part of its energy efficiency laboratory, the Integrated Design Lab in Boise, ID, from 2011 to 2015.

Mahic has a primary focus on daylighting simulation, automating workflows centered on the Radiance suite of daylighting tools and applying them as a technical assistance service to architects and engineers on a variety of new construction and existing building renewal projects.

Alejandro Manzo

Alejandro Manzo is a Lab & Field Technician with Energy Studies in Buildings Laboratory at the University of Oregon in Portland Oregon since early 2016. He holds a Bachelor of Architecture and Spanish from Portland State University (PSU). From a young age living in central Mexico in a fairly small town he was obsessed with why homes were built very similar in and out of town. Intrigued by this question later in his life decided to study Architecture after being admitted to PSU as a candidate of the Diversity Enrichment Scholarship. He has been actively involved with ESBL in an indoor air quality study funded by the United States Environmental Protection Agency. His research interests include, energy efficiency, material innovation, natural ventilation, daylighting, and residential architecture. Currently he is thinking about advancing his career with a Masters of Architecture focusing on the natural surroundings to better learn from them and create better living spaces to inhabit.

Gwynne Á. Mhuireach

I received a B.S. in Biology from the University of Washington and a Masters degree in Architecture from the University of Oregon. I am a Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of Landscape Architecture at the University of Oregon and a member of the Biology and Built Environment (BioBE) Center. Currently, my research focuses on how vegetation influences microbial community composition in urban neighborhoods, with the ultimate goal of helping landscape architects and other urban designers to create better cities.

Amir Nezamdoost

Amir is a PhD student in Architecture at the University of Oregon, advisory committee member of “Daylighting” and “Daylight Metrics” Committees in the Illuminating Engineering Society of North America (IESNA), and student member of the International Association of Lighting Designers (IALD), American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) and Society of Building Science Educators (SBSE). Amir received his Master of Science in Integrated Architecture and Design with concentration on daylighting design and simulation from University of Idaho in 2015. He has experienced working in architectural firms and spent over three years consulting on energy efficiency and daylighting design analysis with the Integrated Design Lab in Boise at the University of Idaho. Amir joined Energy Studies in Buildings Lab (ESBL) as a graduate research fellow in 2016. His work at the lab has been included daylighting design and analysis, occupants’ visual satisfaction, façade design performance, energy efficient buildings, passive design, integrated design, thermal comfort, and human behavior analysis as well as developing building simulations in Radiance, EnergyPlus, and OpenStudio.

Dale Northcutt

A skilled building and systems analyst, Dale has completed more than 10,000 DOE-2 building energy simulations across 7 of the 8 U.S. climate zones. He has extensive experience calibrating simulations to empirical data and creating new functions within the program to simulate building components the program was not originally set up to handle. The results have influenced the types of school buildings state agencies in the United States set as guidelines for future buildings. Before joining ESBL, Northcutt helped start a solar collector manufacturing business and worked in the research, development, and manufacturing of solar collectors for several years.

Dale has considerable expertise in field and lab testing and monitoring, including building energy monitoring, lighting level and daylighting studies, studies of water absorption of building materials, spectroscopy, chromatography, evaluation of solar collector performance, evaluation of heat exchanger performance, testing by coheating, blower door, and infrared imaging, and computer simulation of buildings using DOE 2. He has also developed a skylight system sizing and specification tool for architects to optimize the daylighting in a room. Dale has been with the lab since 1996.

Jason Stenson

Jason has been with the Energy Studies in Buildings Laboratory since January 2005. He conducts research and recommends design improvements for building and component development. He is the facility manager for operations at the Portland ESBL. His design assistance experience includes daylighting, energy programming, microclimate, and natural ventilation simulations and analysis for ESBL projects at Novelty Hill Winery, Chico’s World Headquarters, the Science Building at Spokane Falls Community College, the Veterinary Medical Research Building at Washington State University, Chemeketa Community College, the Edith Green Wendall Wyatt Federal Building, the Alumni Center at the University of Oregon, and Temple Beth Israel.

Jason’s mechanical engineering background has been beneficial to providing technical assistance on product design and implementation. He has also managed and provided expertise on a number of healthcare projects for institutions such as Portland Shriners Hospital, Oregon Health Science University, Providence Milwaukie and Oregon State Hospital.

Roo Vandegrift

Roo Vandegrift is a Research Assistant Professor of Fungal Ecology with the Biology and the Built Environment Center at the University of Oregon. He specializes in community ecology, with a particular interest in dispersal and factors affecting community assembly, including building materials and usage patterns.

Kevin Van Den Wymelenberg

Dr. Kevin Van Den Wymelenberg is an Associate Professor at the University of Oregon and is the Co-Director of the Biology and the Built Environment Center and Director of the Energy Studies in Buildings Laboratory in Eugene and Portland, OR. He has a PhD in the Built Environment from the University of Washington. He teaches classes in daylighting, integrated design principles, energy performance in buildings, and design. Van Den Wymelenberg has consulted on several hundred new construction and major renovation projects with architects and engineers regarding daylight and energy in buildings since 2000. Five of these projects have been recognized with AIA’s Commi ttee on the Environment Top 10 Awards and many others are LEED certified. He has presented at many conferences including IES National, LightFair International and Passive Low Energy Architecture. He has authored several papers and two books related to daylighting, visual comfort, and low energy design strategies.

Dr. Kevin Van Den Wymelenberg served as Assistant and Associate Professor in the College of Art and Architecture in Boise from 2004-2015. He was the founding Director of the Integrated Design Lab in Boise (UI-IDL) and served there as professor from 2004-2015, completing over $7M in funded research and outreach in daylighting and energy efficiency for the Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance, United States Environment Protection Agency, Idaho Power Company, the New Buildings Institute and others. Kevin is the Chair of the IESNA’s Daylight Metrics Committee and co-author on IES document LM-83 that serves as partial basis for the LEED V4 Daylighting Credit.

Hannah Wilson

Hannah is the lab manager and research assistant at the Biology and the Built Environment Center. She received both her BS and MS from the University of Oregon in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, with a focus in fungal and plant associations and climate change ecology. She also has a strong background in teaching undergraduate biology and has a passion for promoting scientific literacy. In her spare time she does biological illustrations.

Paul Ward

I studied aerospace and nuclear engineering with the hope of facilitating manned exploration of our solar system and, along the way, improving the energy situation here on the ground. During my masters studies, I worked with the computational group at Argonne National Labs where I focused on simulating the coolant flow in experimental reactor designs. While still fascinated by these ideas, the more I learn the more I think that the solutions to the problems we face will not be found in further expansion and energy generation. Instead, I feel that we need to reign in our consumption and reevaluate how we behave toward each other and the resources we all must share.

Architecture provides opportunities to tackle these issues from a variety of perspectives. I enjoy the hands-on and multidisciplinary approach we take here at ESBL and look forward to developing methods to make our buildings more efficient and more pleasant to inhabit. My research areas of interest include daylighting techniques and using computational fluid dynamics to inform passive ventilation strategies. I am currently working with various members of campus operations to develop and deploy a series of energy-conservation projects and am performing wind-tunnel experiments to support design of a rain-screen system for an all-timber parking garage.

Other members of the team:

-Tori Carroll – Biology undergraduate

-Stephanie Luiere – program manager

Symposium participants:

Mike Bailey