TED Fellows » TED Fellows Network » Jessica Green

Jessica Green

Engineer + biodiversity scientist

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Jessica Green

Professional Role

Current Titles:

Founder, Director, Associate Professor, PhD

Current Organizations:

BioInformed Design LLC, Biology and Built Environment Center, University of Oregon, Santa Fe Institute


Uploaded Photos

Flickr Photostream


Talk Derby To Me

A documentary about microbes, roller derby and what it means to be human.

For more information contact:
Jessica Green

View video on Vimeo »

TEDxPortland 2012 - Jessica Green, PhD - Managing the Magic of Microbes

Many thanks to our Presenting Sponsor, The University of Oregon - White Stag Block. Jessica—aka "Thumper Biscuit" in roller derby circles—is a professor at both the University of Oregon and the Santa Fe Institute. She's a TED Fellow whose current goal is to help people visualize the invisible world of microorganisms to foster a world full of buildings that limit infectious disease and maximize energy. TEDx Established in 2009, in the spirit of "ideas worth spreading," TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TED.com videos, live speakers and performers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized. Over 1,400 TEDx events occur annually around the world.

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Biology and Built Environment Center
9/1/2010 – 9/1/2015
Buildings are complex ecosystems that house trillions of diverse microorganisms interacting with each other, with humans, and with their environment. The vision of the Biology and the Built Environment (BioBE) Center, located at the University of Oregon, is to develop hypothesis-driven, evidence-based approaches to understand the "built environment microbiome". We are training a new generation of innovators and practitioners at the architecture-biology interface. Our goal is to optimize the design and operation of buildings to promote both human health and environmental sustainability.
Project Website »

Tiny Shiny
01/01/2011 – 01/01/2012
An artbook about science? A science book about art? A horror story with very small characters? The Tiny Shiny is a collaborative effort with Microbial Ecologist Jessica Green and Artist Steve Green, and tells the grisly tale of the world of the invisible. Making up the bulk of life on the planet, but invisible to the naked eye- microbes are everywhere. They define our health - and our identity. But can they survive the winter at the Overlook Hotel?
Project Website »

Talk Derby to Me
09/26/2011 – 12/31/2012
In "Talk Derby to Me" a scientist and two filmmakers will look at what the human microbiome can teach us about being human. Through the film, a roller derby team will take us from the macro to the micro, into worlds that have rarely, if ever been seen before. What unites us and evens our collective playing field may be the smallest, and most unexpected elements living in and on our bodies.
Project Website »


Jessica has extensive interdisciplinary training as both an engineer (civil, environmental, and nuclear) and a biologist. After cycling across Alaska with her dog and working as a ski lift operator, she got her PhD in nuclear engineering studying the fractal geometry of engineered and natural systems. For the past decade she has researched microbial systems in a variety of habitats including the arctic, the tropics, the ocean, the atmosphere, and the urban sphere. She was founding faculty at UC Merced, the tenth and newest campus of the University of California system. She is currently a professor at both the University of Oregon and the Santa Fe Institute, and the founding director of an innovative new Center for Biology and the Built Environment that bridges biology and architecture. Jessica collaborates with artists and designers to explore and convey key concepts about microorganisms to their human hosts.

Fun facts

Favorite meal:
Cherry cornbread scone and a cup of coffee.

A funny story about me:
I tore my ACL and the the posterolateral corner of my knee wrestling a bear. I met someone at TED who fixed it with two cadaver parts.

Vital Stats

Fellows Class
2011 TED Senior Fellow
Living in
Paris, France
Working in
Eugene, United States
Born in
Gainesville, United States



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