Brent Stephens
Director

Dr. Brent Stephens is a Professor and Department Chair in the Department of Civil, Architectural, and Environmental Engineering at Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago, IL. He received his Ph.D. in Civil Engineering in 2012 and his M.S.E. in Environmental and Water Resources Engineering in 2009, both from the University of Texas at Austin. He received his B.S.E. in Civil Engineering from Tennessee Technological University in 2007. His research interests include energy, environmental, and sustainability issues within the built environment. Much of his work has focused on developing novel methods of measuring and analyzing energy use and air quality in buildings. He teaches courses primarily in architectural and environmental engineering at IIT, including CAE 331/513 Building Science, CAE 463/524 Building Enclosure Design, ENVE 576 Indoor Air Pollution, and CAE 553 Measurements and Instrumentation in Architectural Engineering, as well as CAE 110/111 Intro to the Profession I and II.

Full Academic CV

LinkedInTwitterGoogle Scholar
Mohammad Heidarinejad
Co-Director

Dr. Mohammad Heidarinejad is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Civil, Architectural, and Environmental Engineering at Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago, IL. His research interests center on building energy and environmental systems. Mohammad received his Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering in 2014 and his M.Sc. in Architectural Engineering in 2011, both from Pennsylvania State University. Previously he was a research assistant professor and research associate in the Mechanical Engineering Department at the University of Maryland College Park. Mohammad is recipient of several prestigious awards, including the ASHRAE New Investigator Award in 2019 in support of his early career research.  Mohammad is a registered professional engineer (PE). At IIT, Mohammad teaches courses entitled CAE 553 Instrumentation and Measurements in Building Science, CAE 465/526 Energy Conservation in Building Design, and CAE 464/517 HVAC Systems Design.

LinkedInTwitterGoogle Scholar

Current Members

 

Akram Ali
Ph.D. Candidate, Civil Engineering

Akram Syed Ali is a Ph.D. Candidate in Civil Engineering (Architectural Engineering specialization) at Illinois Tech. He is working primarily on development and application of a novel low-cost open-source wireless building environmental sensing and control platform (Elemental). He joined BERG@IIT as a Ph.D. student in 2016 after earning his M.S. in Architectural Engineering from Illinois Institute of Technology, focusing on developing the original Open Source Building Science Sensors (OSBSS) project, and his B.S. in Architectural Engineering from King Fahd University of Petroleum & Minerals.

Primary advisor: Brent Stephens

LinkedInGoogle Scholar
Afshin Faramarzi
Ph.D. Candidate, Civil Engineering

Afshin is a Ph.D. candidate in Civil Engineering (Architectural Engineering concentration) at Illinois Tech. His research interests include theory and high-performance methods in optimization and applications for optimal control of building systems and energy performance. Afshin is a member of ASHRAE, the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), and the Chicago Building Performance Simulation Association (CHIBPSA). Afshin also earned his B.Sc. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Guilan and his M.Sc. in Civil Engineering from Iran University of Science and Technology. 

Primary advisor: Mohammad Heidarinejad

LinkedInGoogle Scholar
Torkan Fazli
Ph.D. Candidate, Civil Engineering

Torkan Fazil is a Ph.D. Candidate in Civil Engineering (Architectural Engineering concentration) at Illinois Tech. She is working on a set of custom energy and mass balance models for predicting the effects of climate change on energy use, indoor air quality, and chronic health outcomes in U.S. homes. She has also worked on novel measurements of size-resolved HVAC filtration efficiency. She joined BERG@IIT in 2014 after earning her M.S. in Architecture from Middle East Technical University and her B.S. in Civil Engineering from Urmia University.

Primary advisor: Brent Stephens

LinkedInGoogle Scholar
Insung Kang
Ph.D. Candidate, Civil Engineering

Insung Kang is a Ph.D. Candidate in Civil Engineering (Architectural Engineering concentration) at Illinois Tech. He is working primarily on evaluating the impacts of different forms of residential mechanical ventilation systems on energy, indoor air quality, and asthma outcomes in over 40 Chicago area homes. He joined BERG@IIT in 2019 after earning his B.S. and M.E. in Architectural Engineering from Chung-Ang University where he worked on phase change materials and applications of artificial neural networks (ANNs) for buildings.

Primary advisor: Brent Stephens

LinkedInGoogle Scholar
Behzad Salimian Rizi
Ph.D. Candidate, Civil Engineering

Behzad Salimian Rizi is a Ph.D. Candidate in Civil Engineering (Architectural Engineering concentration) at Illinois Tech. His research interests include turbomachinery, control of HVAC systems, applications of machine learning, and GIS. Behzad is a member of ASHRAE and currently serves as an executive board member of the ASHRAE IIT Student Branch. Behzad also earned his B.Sc in Mechanical Engineering in 2009 from Shahrekord University and his M.Sc in Mechanical Engineering in 2012 from Iran University of Science and Technology.

Primary advisor: Mohammad Heidarinejad

LinkedIn
Yicheng Zeng
Ph.D. Candidate, Environmental Engineering

Yicheng Zeng is a Ph.D. Candidate in Environmental Engineering at Illinois Tech. She is working primarily on combining gravimetric and real-time aerosol sampling in Chicago area homes with a focus on calibration and characterization of indoor aerosol density. She has also worked on making novel in-situ size-resolved measurements of HVAC filtration efficiency. She joined BERG@IIT as an M.S. student in 2016 after earning her B.S. in Marine Science from Tianjin University of Science and Technology.

Primary advisor: Brent Stephens

LinkedIn
Dan Zhao
Ph.D. Candidate, Environmental Engineering

Dan Zhao is a Ph.D. Candidate in Environmental Engineering at Illinois Tech. She is working primarily on measuring and modeling the dynamics of microbial communities on building materials subject to high moisture conditions. She has also worked on the impact of residential HVAC filtration on indoor particle concentrations and characterizing emissions from 3D printers. She joined BERG@IIT as a Ph.D. student in 2014 after earning her M.S. in Environmental Engineering from Illinois Tech and her B.S. in Applied Meteorological Science from Nanjing University of Information Science & Technology.

Primary advisor: Brent Stephens

LinkedInGoogle Scholar
Kari Abromitis
M.S. Candidate, Architectural Engineering

Kari Abromitis is an M.S. Candidate in Architectural Engineering at Illinois Tech. She is working to analyze time-series indoor air quality, building operational, and asthma outcome data from a sample of Chicago area homes. She is also working as a research analyst for Made In Space, Inc., and has experience working as a construction project manager and as an economic data analyst. She joined BERG@IIT in 2019 after earning her B.A. in Economics and Environmental Studies at Villanova University and after working for Bloomberg, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, and Clune Construction.

Primary advisor: Brent Stephens

LinkedInTwitter
Chris Riley
M.S. Candidate, Architectural Engineering

Chris Riley is an M.S. Candidate in Architectural Engineering at Illinois Tech. He is primarily working to develop and apply a novel radiator control system that is designed to automate older existing buildings for which there is currently no automation. He joined BERG@IIT in 2017 as an undergraduate student pursuing his B.S. in Mechanical Engineering at Illinois Tech. He graduated in 2018 and began his M.S. the same year. Chris also has experience in building construction and as a math tutor for Wilbur Wright College.

Primary advisor: Brent Stephens

LinkedIn
Marina Beke
M.S. Candidate, Architectural Engineering

Marina Beke is an M.S. candidate in Architectural Engineering at Illinois Tech. She earned her B.S. in Architectural Engineering at IIT in 2020. Marina is working on a project funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and in partnership with the Jesse Brown Veterans Affairs Medical Center, the University of Illinois at Chicago, and Elevate Energy to evaluate the effects of stand-alone air filtration on health outcomes of military veterans with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). 

Primary advisor: Brent Stephens

LinkedIn
Zahida Khan
Ph.D. Candidate, Architecture

Zahida Khan is a Ph.D. Candidate in the College of Architecture at Illinois Tech. Her research focuses on understanding human behavior in urban outdoor spaces, with a focus agent based modeling to incorporate the effects of microclimates and thermal comfort. She joined IIT in 2015, earning her Master of Architecture in 2017 and entering the PhD program in 2018. She is also working to coordinate the 2020 International Graduate Student Symposium "Human Behavior, Performance, and Built Environments."

Primary advisor: Brent Stephens

LinkedIn

 

Former Members

 

Parham Azimi
Ph.D. Environmental Engineering & Postdoc

Dr. Parham Azimi earned his Ph.D. in Environmental Engineering from IIT in 2016 and subsequently worked as a postdoctoral researcher at IIT from 2017 to 2019. In his dissertation work with BERG@IIT he primarily focused on advances in indoor aerosols, including projects in infectious aerosol risk modeling, transport, and control and characterizing particle and gas phase emissions from 3D printers and the impact of control strategies. In his postdoctoral work he lead field measurements of indoor air quality and health outcomes in Chicago area homes. Dr. Azimi joined BERG@IIT in 2013 after earning his B.S. and M.S. in civil/environmental engineering from Sharif University of Technology. Dr. Azimi is now a postdoctoral research at the Harvard School of Public Health. 

Primary advisor: Brent Stephens

LinkedInGoogle Scholar
Stephanie Kunkel
Ph.D. Microbiology & Postdoctoral Researcher

Dr. Stephanie "Stevie" Kunkel earned her Ph.D. in Microbiology from Illinois Institute of Technology in 2014 and subsequently worked as a postdoctoral researcher at Illinois Tech from 2014 to 2016 as an Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow in the Microbiology of the Built Environment. Her work in BERG@IIT focused on novel measurements of indoor bioaerosol fate, transport, and control using surrogate microorganisms, with implications for infectious disease transmission by informing the effectiveness of HVAC filtration for reducing concentrations of microbes in air and settled on surfaces. Dr. Kunkel also earned her B.S. in Cellular and Molecular Biology from the University of Arizona and now works as an Operations Manager at Abbott in the Chicago area.

Primary advisor: Brent Stephens

LinkedInGoogle Scholar
Haoran Zhao
Ph.D. Environmental Engineering

Dr. Haoran Zhao earned his Ph.D. in Environmental Engineering from Illinois Institute of Technology in 2019. He joined BERG@IIT in 2014 while pursuing his masters in environmental engineering. His work focused primarily on developing and applying novel methods to measure the transport of outdoor pollutants into the indoor environment. He combined measurements in an unoccupied test apartment on campus as well as field work in Chicago area homes to advance his work on measuring the penetration factor for size-resolved particles, ozone, and nitrogen oxides. Dr. Zhao also earned his B.S. in Agricultural Engineering from China Agricultural University and now works as a postdoctoral researcher at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

Primary advisor: Brent Stephens

LBNLGoogle Scholar
Irina Susorova
Ph.D. Architecture

Dr. Irina Susorova earned her Ph.D. in Architecture from Illinois Institute of Technology in 2013. She joined BERG@IIT in 2012 and continued after finishing her Ph.D. and working in the architecture/engineering industry. Her research work focused primarily on evaluating the energy impacts of climbing vegetation on building facades, although she has also worked on several other building enclosure and energy modeling projects. Dr. Susorova also earned her Master of Architecture from St. Petersburg University of Technology and Design and now works as a Building Performance Specialist at PAE Consulting Engineers in Seattle.

Primary advisor: Brent Stephens

LinkedIn
Tommy Zakrzewski
Ph.D. Civil Engineering

Dr. Thomas Zakrzewski earned his Ph.D. in Civil Engineering (Architectural Engineering concentration) from Illinois Institute of Technology in 2017. His work in BERG@IIT focused on advancing commercial building distributed thermal and electrical energy distribution design sizing and performance optimization methods for microgrid applications. Dr. Zakrzewski also earned his Masters in Architectural Engineering from Illinois Tech in 2010 and his B.A. in Audio Arts and Acoustics from Columbia College in 2007. Dr. Zakrzewski now works as Vice President of Integrative Energy Engineering at HKS in Chicago and teaches as an adjunct professor at IIT.

Primary advisor: Brent Stephens

LinkedIn
Brett Horin
M.S. Architectural Engineering

Brett Horin earned his M.S. in Architectural Engineering from IIT in 2018. His work in BERG@IIT focused on optimizing buildings for natural ventilation using CFD and artificial neural networks. Brett also earned his B.S. in Civil Engineering with a Certificate in Architectural Engineering & Design from Northwestern University. Brett now works as an Energy and Commissioning Engineer for Baumann Consulting in Chicago. At IIT he also led an interdisciplinary team competing for the Department of Energy's annual Race to Zero competition, leading them to a 2nd place finish in their category.

Primary advisor(s): Brent Stephens & Mohammad Heidarinejad

LinkedIn
Honnie Leinartas
M.S. Civil Engineering

Honnie Leinartas earned her M.S. in Civil Engineering (Architectural Engineering concentration) from Illinois Institute of Technology in 2014. Her work in BERG@IIT focused on optimizing energy efficiency retrofits for the existing housing stock in Chicago using cloud-based simulations. You can read about her Chicagoland housing stock modeling work here. Honnie also earned her B.A. in Architecture from the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) in 2007. Honnie now works as a Senior Energy Specialist at Elevate Energy.

Primary advisor: Brent Stephens

LinkedIn
Tiffanie Ramos
M.S. Environ. Engineering

Tiffanie Ramos earned her M.S. in Environmental Engineering from IIT in 2014. Her work in BERG@IIT focused on characterizing building environmental, operational, and occupancy factors hypothesized to impact microbial communities in the Hospital Microbiome Project. Honnie also earned her B.S. in Biological Sciences from the University of California, Irvine, and now works as an Air Quality Engineer at Tetra Tech in Portland, Oregon. Tiffanie also won a Starr-Fieldhouse Fellowship at IIT.

Primary advisor: Brent Stephens

LinkedIn
Zeineb El Orch
M.S. Civil Engineering

Zeineb El Orch earned her M.S. in Civil Engineering from Illinois Institute of Technology in 2013. Her work in BERG@IIT focused on modeling indoor particles of outdoor origin across the U.S. residential building stock and also modeling the life cycle costs of different duct designs in single-family homes. Zeineb also earned her Bachelor of Engineering in Civil Engineering and Town Planning from Institut National des Sciences Appliquées (INSA) Lyon and now works as a Project Manager at Permasteelisa in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Primary advisor: Brent Stephens

LinkedIn
Meng Ju (Mackenzie) Lin
Graduate researcher
Jun Lu
Graduate researcher
Erica Acton
Undergraduate researcher
Deion Debose
Undergraduate researcher
Boyang “Bobo” Dong
Undergraduate researcher
Joseph Chee Poh Huan
Undergraduate researcher
Zack Zanzinger
Undergraduate researcher
Jihad Zeid
Undergraduate researcher
Rou Yi Yeap
Undergraduate researcher
Nina Townley
Undergraduate researcher
Dina Curioni
Undergraduate researcher
Ben Wachholz
Undergraduate researcher
Sara Glade
Undergraduate researcher
Hailey Kunkel
Undergraduate researcher
Utsav Gandhi
Undergraduate researcher
Matthew Thomas
Undergraduate researcher
Roxanne Myers
Undergraduate researcher

Family Members

 

Riley Stephens
Chasing Squirrels and Eating Bugs