Jessica Green, a TED2010 Fellow and TED2011 Senior Fellow, is an engineer and ecologist who specializes in biodiversity theory and microbial systems. As a professor at both the University of Oregon and the Santa Fe Institute, she is the founding director of the innovative new Biology and the Built Environment (BioBE) Center that bridges biology and architecture. Jessica envisions a future with genomic-driven approaches to architectural design that promote sustainability, human health and well-being. She is currently spearheading efforts to model buildings as complex ecosystems that house trillions of diverse microorganisms interacting with each other, with humans, and with their environment. This framework uses next-generation sequencing technology to characterize the Ã¢â‚¬Å“built environment microbiomeÃ¢â‚¬Â and will offer site-specific design solutions to minimize the spread of infectious disease and maximize building energy efficiency.
TED Fellows Retreat 2013, TED2013, TEDGlobal 2012, TED2012, TEDGlobal 2011, TED2011, TEDWomen 2010, TED2010
Areas of Expertise
Ecology and Evolution, Microbial Ecology, Environmental Engineering, Theoretical Biology, biodiversity
An idea worth spreading
The view of biodiversity cast by great thinkers such as Linneaus and Darwin is based on the study of plants and animals - organisms visible to the naked eye. Recent advances in our ability to characterize microbial diversity in natural environments have prompted a new era of exploration, one that has radically changed thinking in ecology and evolution. Scientists have moved beyond the limitations of culture-based techniques, and are using genes as a yardstick to quantify the evolutionary relatedness among EarthÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s organisms (the Ã¢â‚¬ËœTree of LifeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢). This molecular perspective shows that most of the genetic diversity on Earth is comprised of microbes - organisms invisible to the naked eye. Researchers have estimated there are more than six billion microbes in the human mouth, comprising more than 600 species. On Earth, the number of individual microbes is thought to be as high as 10^30, with a speculated ten million to one billion species.
I'm passionate about
Biodiversity, microorganisms, math, and roller derby.
Talk to me about
The Tree of Life, the built environment microbiome, visualizing the invisible, metagenomics.
People don't know I'm good at
Roller skating backwards.