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Theoretical Ecologist Jessica Green Brings Conversation about Ecology and Sustainability Indoors as 2016 Heinz Distinguished Lecturer

PITTSBURGH, PA (March 22, 2016) … The restoration of gray wolves in Yellowstone National Park reduced elk overpopulation, increased tree canopy cover and provided an overall increase in the biodiversity of the region. By now, most people are familiar with how introducing or removing a species can have overwhelming impact on an ecosystem, but what about changes to the trillions of microorganisms living in and around our bodies?

The University of Pittsburgh’s Mascaro Center for Sustainable Innovation (MCSI) will present microbiome expert Jessica Green as the 2016 Heinz Distinguished Lecturer on Tuesday, April 5, 2016 at 4:30 pm in the William Pitt Union Ballroom, 3959 Fifth Avenue in Oakland. Green will discuss the beneficial and harmful microbes that inhabit our indoor environments and bodies, and her research into the potential for using “bioinformed design” to prevent the spread of disease, improve our overall health and cultivate positive relationships with the environment directly around us.

“The Heinz Distinguished Lectures are open and understandable to a broad group of people to help the community understand sustainability,” said Gena Kovalcik, co-director of administration and external relations for the MCSI. “These talks tie into our mission of having an impact on our region and community. We want people throughout the region to be able to understand sustainability and engage with it.”  

For more information and to register visit www.engineering.pitt.edu/heinzlecture by March 25. Any questions can be emailed to mcsi@pitt.edu. Free parking will be provided directly across from the William Pitt Union in the Soldiers and Sailors Parking Garage, 4215 Fifth Ave., Oakland. Simply bring your parking ticket to the registration desk for validation.

Jessica Green is an engineer and ecologist specializing in microbial systems. She is the founding director of the Biology and the Built Environment Center at the University of Oregon, which combines the disciplines of biology and architecture to develop site-specific design solutions that minimize the spread of infectious disease and maximize building energy efficiency. Green is also the chief technology officer of Phylagen, a company that uses DNA sequencing to improve business performance.

Green’s research in microbiome science and technology has appeared in Nature, Science, and the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and in business publications such as the Wall Street Journal, Forbes and NPR.

The Heinz Distinguished Lectureship is supported by a gift from the Heinz Endowments for the establishment of a Green Construction and Sustainable Development Program in the Pitt Swanson School of Engineering’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. The program is co-sponsored by the Mascaro Center for Sustainable Innovation. The lectureship is open to the community and aims to bring to the University innovative, thought provoking, and forward-looking concepts appropriate for sustainable infrastructure development.


Contact: Paul Kovach