Category Archives: Student Work

ESBL students in BioMimicry Design find inspiration in basking sharks

ESBL grad students Julia May and Alex Balog worked on the Basking Filter project as an extension of their Biomimicry and Parametric Design course taught by Nancy Cheng, Chair of the Architecture Department at UO. With interests in engineering, industrial processes, and filtration, they began to research various filter feeders to see if nature’s wisdom could help inspire a self-cleaning filter. After learning about the Basking Shark and its amazing adaptations, Julia and Alex came to the ESBL to discuss using the wind tunnel to run experiments. Guided by research done at William and Mary, Alex and Julia tested some simple geometries to see if they could create eddies to aid in a self-cleaning process. Last week they submitted their re-design of water treatment plants to a Biomimicry Design Challenge. The treatment plant uses the properties of the filter (mixing and separation) to speed up critical processes, while performing the self-cleaning function.

You can find the slides for their pitch here

Stop Motion Science: The Light Box Video

Written by Mira Zimmerman and Fiona Curliss

At BioBE, we strive to produce scientific research that is clear and understandable to any audience, not only for interdisciplinary collaboration, but also for scientific education. Those unfamiliar with the langauge and traditional methods of science often get lost in the complexities of scientific publications, and as a result do not delve into the inspirational and astonishing discoveries that the science community offers. This winter, as our Light Box Study concluded, we decided to create a media project that would explain the purpose, methods, and conclusions of our experiment in a way that would be more accessible for everyone.

The student team that created this video included architecture undergraduate Delaney Hetrick from ESBL and biology undergraduate researchers Fiona Curliss, Savanna Lloyd, and Sam Rosenburg from BioBE. Our student team was directed by Sue Ishaq and Jeff Kline, who sketched out the original video plot. Sue is a microbiologist and is managing the BioBE undergraduate researchers. She wanted students to learn how to communicate the findings and methods of scientific research to a general audience and to showcase the creative ingenuity that produced the lightboxes. Jeff, an architect at ESBL and one of the authors of the Lightbox publication, encouraged students to design a “visual conversation” for an interdisciplinary audience. Jeff and Mira Zimmerman worked on the more technical aspects of sound and picture quality. Willem Griffiths from BioBE helped Sue with the video voice-over. This project is a testement to the partnership between BioBE and ESBL and embodies our collective mission for interdisciplinary collaboration between the artistic and scientific communities.

Willem Griffith & Sue Ishaq working on the voiceover

As a team, biology and architecture students worked together learning to communicate the scientific and design aspects of the Lightbox project. They decided to create a video because of the medium’s accessibility and clarity. The video format also provided a chronological framework for approaching scientific concepts. In the process, students learned new skills related to video production, constructing and lighting sets, and editing stop motion video. Delaney said she “learned about the effort it takes to make a stop-motion film as well as how to look at the built environment from a new perspective.”

Students had some difficulty deciding the best way to explain the passage of time while the dust was in the light boxes and how this affected the composition of the dust. After talking through several ideas, they decided that the dust bunnies should change color to show partial bacterial death. They also came up with the idea of representing the passage of time with a day/night cycle shown by the moon and sun. Fiona told us that “projects like this video can be challenging because as a scientist there is a lot of background information you have that you forget other people don’t know, but that’s what made feedback from the team so valuable. While it can be discouraging to rework the concept and storyboard several times, ultimately taking their advice helped us make a better video and helped to develop my science communication skills.”

We hope to continue projects like this that allow everyone to engage with our research.

Without further ado, enjoy our Lightbox Video:

Amir Nezamdoost – SLL Young Lighter of the Year and Richard Kelley Grant

Amir Nezamdoost, UO Architecture PhD and ESBL graduate research fellow, was selected as a finalist for the prestigious SLL Young Lighter of the Year 2017 competition. Nezamdoost is one of three young researchers shortlisted for the international award – the finalists’ presentations and announcement of the winner to follow at the LUX Awards at ExCel in London in November.

For more information on the competition: SLL Young Lighter 2017

 

Additionally, Nezamdoost received the Richard Kelley Grant for 2016 – an award established by the New York Section

of the Illuminating Engineering Society in 1980. “The purpose is to recognize and encourage creative thought and activity in the use of light. Award(s) are granted to the person(s) who preserve and carry forth Richard Kelly’s ideals, enthusiasm and reverence for light.” – IESNYC

For more information on the Richard Kelly Grant: IESNYC

Congratulations to Amir for success in his lighting research!

 

Kevin Van Den Wymelenberg Launches Campus Impact Course

ESBL director Kevin Van Den Wymelenberg has launched a course through University of Oregon Allied Arts and Architecture entitled “Campus Impact: Comfort + Energy.” This course, open to both graduate and undergraduate students, offers the unique opportunity to collaborate with staff from the University of Oregon Campus Planning Design and Construction in a number of projects to improve the level of building performance and human comfort on campus.

“The University of Oregon Campus Planning and Facilities Management (UO Facilities) staff has agreed to support this class through substantive investment of human resources.  Together withUO Facilities, we have developed a suite of project categories and defined specific projects forstudent team analysis.  The focus will be placed on the studentbased team research and detailed analysis and evaluation of the sustainable design systems and building performance in quantitative terms; and qualitatively through interviews, transcriptions, and comfort questionnaires. We will submit our work to peer reviewed journals and conference proceedings and will present our results and manuscripts to UO Facilities.”

-Van Dem Wymelenberg

 

Mhuireach Awarded A&AA Dissertation Fellowship 2017-2018

Congratulations to Gwynne Mhuireach for winning a Dissertation Fellowship from the School of Architecture & Allied Arts at the University of Oregon!  Her working dissertation title is: Toward a Mechanistic Understanding of Relationships Between Airborne Microbial Communities and Urban Vegetation: Implications for Urban Planning and Human Well-being.  Mhuireach holds an M.Architecture (2012) from the University of Oregon and a B.S. in Biology (Ecology and Evolution Track, 1999) form the University of Washington. She is presently a Graduate Research Fellow at the Energy Studies in Buildings Laboratory and BioBE Center at University of Oregon.  Her anticipated graduation is June 2018.

Recent publication: Urban greenness influences airborne bacterial community composition

Dissertation Abstract: Variation in exposure to environmental microbial communities has been implicated in the etiology of allergies, asthma and other immune-related disorders. In particular, exposure to a high diversity of microbes during early life, for example through living in highly vegetated environments like farms or forests, may have specific health benefits, including immune system development and stimulation. In the face of rapidly growing cities and potential reductions in urban green space, it is vital to clarify whether and how microbial community composition is related to vegetation. The purpose of my proposed research is to identify plausible but under-explored mechanisms through which urban vegetation may influence public health. Specifically, I am investigating how airborne microbial communities vary with the amount, structural diversity, and/or species composition of green space for 50 sites in Eugene, Oregon. My approach combines geographic information systems (GIS) and remote sensing data with passive air sampling and culture-independent microbial sequencing.

Committee members:

  • Dr. Bart Johnson, Professor of Landscape Architecture (Major Advisor & Committee Chair)
  • Dr. Jessica Green, Professor of Biology (Co-Advisor)
  • Roxi Thoren, Associate Professor of Landscape Architecture (Core Member)
  • Dr. Deb Johnson-Shelton, Education/Health Researcher, Oregon Research Institute (Core Member)
  • G.Z. Brown, Professor of Architecture (Institutional Representative)