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Plants & Architecture: People

Aberystwyth University

Prof. Iain Donnison

Prof. Iain Donnison is a plant scientist and the project lead for the Plants & Architecture Cluster. His research interests span the biology and breeding of crops, the sustainable use of natural resources, the matching of feedstocks to different end uses, and the environmental impact of land use change. He is also committed to working with industry to ensure that academic research is translated into products and processes to deliver economic and environmental benefits.

Tel: 01970 823092

Dr Peter Wootton – Beard RNutr, has experience in nutritional biochemistry, specifically metabolites such as polyphenols and other antioxidant compounds in plant foods. His interests are broad and he has founded several community based projects experimenting with various forms of food production. He completed his PhD at Oxford Brookes University in 2012 before spending time lecturing in Nutrition, and working with the Cardiff based health technology start-up; Nudjed, as Chief Scientific Officer. He is particularly interested in the connection between humans and food systems and how this has evolved over time, as well as the cyclic and co-operative nature of ecosystems. His current as Sêr Cymru Fellow at Aberystwyth University work will be focused on using the lens of the design philosophy Biomimicry to develop research focussed on intersects between plants and architecture.

Dr Maurice Bosch is a plant scientist with an interest in the regulation of plant cell wall dynamics. His research focuses on the identification of chemical, structural and biological features underpinning cell wall recalcitrance to sugar release, and the genes responsible for this trait in grasses.

Dr Paul Robson is a plant scientist with an interest in plant molecular genetics and physiology. His research focuses on the photobiology of plants, light use efficiency and high-throughput phenotyping methods and he is part of several EU plant research consortia working on water use efficiency.

Bangor University

Dr Graham Ormondroyd is a materials scientist who specialises in bio-based materials and timber. He manages the material research group at the BioComposites Centre which includes a portfolio of commercial and project work. Graham is a PRINCE2 practitioner, a Fellow of the Institute of Materials Minerals and Mining and holds a Visiting Senior Research Fellow post in the department of Architecture and Civil Engineering at Bath University.

Dr R.T. Durai Prabhakaran is a Sêr Cymru Fellow and materials scientist with an interest in polymer composites, design and manufacturing, natural fibre and biopolymer composites. He has worked on a range of projects including: screening and material characterization of advanced composites for future large wind turbine blades in a Danish funded project (BLADE KING), Composites recycling in a EPSRC funded project (TARF – LCV), and a hybrid (natural/glass) fibre bio-based polymer composites in a European funded project (NATEX). He is a Fellow of the Indian Institute of Metals (IIM) and a Member of the Society for the Advancement of Material and Process Engineering (SAMPE, USA).

Dr Morwenna Spear is a materials scientist with an interest in forestry, wood science and natural fibre composites. She has worked on a range of projects including: wood modification in a European funded project (ECOTAN), a NNFCC Defra project on wood modification using vegetable oils, and a project on thermal and resin modifications.

Dr Simon Curling is a materials scientist with an interest in material properties and analysis, including wood preservation and decay, extraction of nanocellulose, analysis of agricultural residues for use in packaging, vapour sorption properties of materials and elemental analysis of materials and environmental samples.

Cardiff University

Prof. Phil Jones is an architect with an interest in low energy, low carbon, and sustainable design in the built environment. His research interests include the development of computer models for energy and environmental prediction, urban scale sustainability, research through design, and building energy and environmental monitoring. He has worked on the use of plants to improve the micro-climate around buildings, and simulating their effect on reducing external temperatures. He is Chair of the Board of Directors of Warm Wales, a community interest company formed to install energy efficiency measures to existing fuel poor housing in Wales.

Dr Yangang Xing is a Sêr Cymru Research Fellow investigating the interactions between plants and architecture (e.g. the nexus of green infrastructure and urban heat islands/air quality, energy crops, organic building materials, biomimicry and food) through development and innovative applications of building physics research tools and, in a broader context, systemic modelling and assessment of future post-carbon building environment. Yangang is devoted to identify and develop new research applications to uncap the full potentials of multidisciplinary collaboration to tackle the grand challenges facing society on the horizon. Yangang completed his PhD in Dynamic whole system simulation for sustainability planning, and has done EPSRC-funded research focusing on methodological and technical innovations supporting building and urban sustainability. Apart from doing academic research, he has also worked in architectural and engineering consultancy firms specialized in economic viable low/zero carbon building design and urban planning. He is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (FHA) and a Member of the Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers Association (MCIBSE).

Diana Waldron is an Architectural Engineer graduated from Cardiff University (BEng Hons), School of Engineering. She also has a Master of Sciences degree in Environmental Design of Buildings (MSc) from the Welsh School of Architecture, Cardiff University. After working as a Research Assistant for 3 years for the Low Carbon Research Institute (LCRI), she joined the Sustainable Building Envelope Demonstration (SBED) Project as the Environmental Sustainability Officer for 1.5 years. She is currently starting her PhD investigating the interaction between plants and architecture as part of the Sêr Cymru National Research Network for Low Carbon, Energy and the Environment (NRN-LCEE). With this new research project, her aim is to focus on the potential of plants to enhance the micro-climate within the urban environment. Her main research interests lie around the holistic analysis of sustainable design solutions to reduce carbon emissions and improve the quality and efficiency of the built environment.

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