Our bodies and homes are covered in microbes — some good for us, some bad for us. As we learn more about the germs and microbes who share our living spaces, TED Fellow Jessica Green asks: Can we design buildings that encourage happy, healthy microbial environments?
Jessica Green wants people to understand the important role microbes play in every facet of our lives: climate change, building ecosystems, human health, even roller derby — using nontraditional tools like art, animation and film to help people visualize the invisible world.
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 Biology and the Built Environment (BioBE) Center that bridges biology and architecture.
Green envisions a future with genomic-driven approaches to architectural design that promote sustainability, human health and well-being. She is 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 “built environment microbiome” and will offer site-specific design solutions to minimize the spread of infectious disease and maximize building energy efficiency.
Quotes by Jessica Green
“Humans in the developed world spend more than 90 percent of their lives indoors, where they breathe in and come into contact with trillions of life forms invisible to the naked eye: microorganisms.”
“Our bodies are home to trillions of microbes, and these creatures define who we are.”