Meet Our Team

Led by Principal Investigator Thomas Spiegelhalter, the Miami CRUNCH research team includes individuals who are passionate about designing towards a sustainable, carbon neutral future.

URBAN LIVING LAB (ULL) TEAM

Thomas Spiegelhalter
Thomas SpiegelhalterPrincipal Investigator
Thomas is the professor for Sustainable and Resilient Architecture and Co-Director of the Structures and Environmental Technologies Lab at the FIU College of Communication, Architecture and The Arts and the principal investigator for the CRUNCH Miami research project. He is a licensed architect, engineer, urban planner, and LEED AP. He has conducted research in Europe, Asia, Africa, Central and South America, and the U.S. on numerous contextual solar, carbon-neutral, zero-fossil-energy building realizations projects; large-scale sustainability master planning and consultancies, redevelopment projects for post-industrial architectures and landscapes, and engineered suspension bridges. As a result of his 30 years of design and built work, professional consulting, awarded research, teaching, Spiegelhalter has received 54 prizes, awards, and honors.
Darren Ockert
Darren OckertGraduate Research Assistant
The intersection of architecture, landscape design and modern technologies such as AR, VR, and AI drive me to deliver innovative solutions and will be essential to creating our sustainable future.
Jared Mallard
Jared MallardResearch Assistant
Having studied graphic design and physics during his undergraduate program, he now aims to utilize the synergy between design and science to develop sustainable solutions in urban design. He is pursuing his Masters of Architecture degree at Paul L. Cejas School of Architecture, Florida International University.
Jorge Vasquez
Jorge VasquezResearch Assistant
Monica Dragalina
Monica DragalinaResearch Assistant
After obtaining an Advance Degree in Quality and Reliability Engineering and a Bachelor of Science in Applied Electronics from Polytechnic University of Bucharest, Romania, she is currently pursuing a Master of Architecture degree at Paul L. Cejas School of Architecture, Florida International University. Monica is also a NCARB/AIAS Student Appointed Licensing Advisor, Miami Beach Urban Studios – LEADS (Leadership Engagement and Development Students) Participant, and President of the Tau Sigma Delta Honor Society in Architecture and Allied Arts.
Chelsea Guimaraes
Chelsea GuimaraesResearch Assistant
Currently pursuing a Masters in Architecture at Florida International University. She is originally from Angola but lived all her life in Portugal. One of her goals is to eventually obtain a Ph.D. in an architectural related field, as well as start entering more art and design competitions. In the future, she hopes to be a valuable advocate for sustainability in the field of design.
Paula Castel
Paula CastelResearch Assistant
Masters of Architecture student at Florida International University. Paula has a deep interest in carbon-neutral design, soon to specialize in Earthship design and construction methods, and is a volunteer with All Hands and Hearts, a non-profit organization focused on building sustainable schools with repurposed materials in remote areas in the world that have been severely impacted by natural disasters.
Rebecca Quesnel
Rebecca QuesnelResearch Assistant
Masters of Architecture student at Florida International University. Rebecca hails from Toronto Canada and possess a background in criminal justice as she originally was a member of FIU’s swimming and diving team, being named the program’s first NCAA all American. Now, completing a masters within the architecture field Rebecca finds herself interested in carbon neutral design and hopes to become a licensed architect and an advocate for sustainability.
Srikanth Namuduri
Srikanth NamuduriSenior Researcher
A data scientist studying the Food, Energy & Water (FEW) nexus for the City of Miami, South Miami and Miami Beach. Brings several years of experience in data analysis, machine learning and deep learning. Loves solving problems using data.
Damian Ferrer
Damian FerrerResearch Assistant
Currently pursuing a degree in Computer Engineering, has participated in various internships that required implementation of machine learning. Has experience applying data science techniques and artificial intelligence to projects.
Perry Gabriel
Perry GabrielResearch Assistant
Electrical Engineering Student with a passion for AI and Big Data. Perry Gabriel is originally from Miami Beach and is also a first generation high school and college graduate. A few of his goals are to attend graduate school with a focus on research and to work for a reputable company that put people first.

RESEARCH CONSULTANTS

Zhaohui (Jennifer) Fu
Zhaohui (Jennifer) FuGIS Consultant
Jennifer directs the FIU Library’s Geographic Information Systems Center (GIS Center), Maps & Imagery User Services (MIUS), and the Digital Collections Center (DCC). She is responsible for the development, administration, and supervision of GIS technology implementation campus-wide. Jennifer also coordinates GIS-related research projects and instruction in the GIS Center, and is the founding director of the FIU GIS Certificate Program. She earned her Master’s in Information Science and Policy from SUNY at Albany.
Dr. Levente Juhasz
Dr. Levente JuhaszGIS Research Consultant
Originally trained as a physical geographer, Levente earned his PhD from the University of Florida in Geomatics. He also held short-term visiting positions in Italy and Austria, and worked as a data scientist for a geospatial startup before joining the GIS Center at FIU. He is passionate about answering real world questions with data. His research deals with various aspects of (geospatial) big data and aims to increase our understanding of user-generated geographic information. He has expertise in spatial analysis and modeling , spatial statistics, geocomputation and web technologies.
Dr. Sheyla Santana
Dr. Sheyla SantanaGIS Research Consultant
PhD in GIS and Urban Planning at the Federal University of Minas Gerais State (evaluated in USA), Master’s degree in Environmental Systems Analysis and Modeling, a specialist in GIS Latu-Sensu, Bachelor’s degree in Tourism at UFMG. With a strong background in urban analysis, she has expertise in geographic information systems, spatial analysis, remote sensing, webgis, collaborative maps, and landscape three-dimensional representation.
Jason Domark
Jason DomarkLegal Consultant - Cozen O’Connor
Jason received his bachelor’s degree, with honors, from the University of Miami. Jason earned his law degree, magna cum laude, from the University of Miami School of Law and participated in the University of Miami Law Review.

Karam Baki
Karam BakiRevit, Dynamo, BIM, Scripting Specialist
Karam Baki from Jordan is a worldwide highly respected Autodesk Expert Elite Member, generative Dynamo, Revit, BIM, Fusion360, and Infraworks360 beta tester and champion, 360 Rendering Pro, and a university tutor in architectural engineering. He has been providing webinars for the carbon-neutral design studios of Prof. Spiegelhalter at Florida International University, College of Architecture in Miami for over 4 years. Currently, he is assisting the CRUNCH team with computational and automated workflows for Dynamo and BIM to achieve Carbon-Neutral Cities, Infrastructures, and Buildings.
Albert Elias
Albert EliasResearch Consultant
Albert is the Founder and Creative Director of Aberrate Design Studio, which is an interdisciplinary practice operating in the grey matter between science, art, and technology. More information is here:
www.aberrate.net
James Brasil
James BrasilConsultant
James is a leading practitioner of unsolicited urban practices in the consolidation of the public realm by fusing digital tools with participatory processes. James works with industry, academic, cultural and city partners to develop innovative and holistic strategies on how data-driven research, digital tools and/or fabrication can become accessible to artists, designers and local citizens alike. James has directed and continues to explore pilot projects that seed resilient prototypes for peer-to-peer models of community-oriented production of food, energy and/or water. Currently, James participates on various advisory boards and international research projects focused on resiliency

SENIOR INVESTIGATOR

Tiffany Troxler
Tiffany TroxlerDirector of Science for the Sea Level Solutions Center

SUB-AWARD COLLABORATORS

Jane Gilbert
Jane GilbertChief Resilience Officer at City of Miami
Jane Gilbert’s goal is to help strengthen communities – economically, socially and environmentally. Ms. Gilbert assists diverse stakeholders develop and activate integrated solutions. Ms. Gilbert has over 20 years experience in strategic planning, corporate value integration, non-profit management, fundraising, and program design/implementation in the areas of education, community and economic development, arts & culture, energy and environment.
Zachariah A. Cosner
Zachariah A. Cosner City of South Miami Grants and Sustainability Administrator
Zac Cosner is the Sustainability and Grants Administrator for the City of South Miami. A Miami-Dade County Native, Zac graduated from the University of Miami in 2017 with a triple major in Biology, ‘Ecosystem Science & Policy’ and History. Following his graduation from the University of Miami, Zac worked as a consulting associate with the firm Conservation Concepts LLC where he worked on a variety of pressing environmentally focused activist campaigns and legal suits throughout Miami-Dade County. Zac joined the City of South Miami team as grants and sustainability administrator in July of 2018, attracted by the longstanding reputation of the City of South Miami as a hub of forward-thinking environmental policy.

COLLABORATORS

Guido Rossi
Guido RossiPhD Candidate - University of Genoa
Guido is a PhD candidate at the University of Genoa (Italy), Department of Architecture and Design and guest researcher at the FIU Miami Beach Urban Studios. He has a background as an architect with expertise relating to architectural design and urban planning. He has acquired skills and expertise in particular in urban planning with a focus on Sustainability and Environmental Issues. His research is focused on resilience and urban adaptation to climate change and water related impacts, in particular on the implementation of blue-green infrastructures and traditional grey infrastructures aimed at adaptation.

The Future Is Carbon Neutral

We are a multi-disciplinary research team committed to focussed and efficient study of solutions based design scenarios to build resilient, carbon neautral cities.

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