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Research Associates

The Board of Directors of the Academy in one of its strategic planning sessions, conceived of the idea of establishing a program of Research Associates, people who would work for one or more years in neuroscience laboratories or architectural firms where they would gain knowledge of either field that was new to them. Thus, someone with a background in architecture would work in a neuroscience lab, or a neuroscientist would work in an architectural firm. During this time they would also seek ways to convey to the members of their professional base what they were learning.

Past and present Research Associates include:

Meredith Banasiak
Meredith is a member of the Architecture faculty, as a full-time Instructor, at the University of Colorado. In this role, she is responsible for teaching ‘Social Factors in Environmental Design’ (ENVD), a core curriculum lecture course required for all undergraduate Environmental Design majors where a substantial portion of the course curriculum investigates links between environmental design and cognitive science. She created and teaches a graduate seminar, “Design with the Brain in Mind” which examines the connections between cognitive science and our environment.

In 2008, Meredith received an American Institute of Architects (AIA) ‘Research for Practice’ grant for her project, “From Benchtop to Bedside: Transferring research lessons learned in an undergraduate program” to develop a research partnership between students and practitioners that promotes knowledge transfer between academia and the design profession. She is continuing this work as a 2010 President’s Teaching and Learning Researcher seeking to develop a strategy to cultivate student interest in design research.

As a Research Associate with the Academy of Neuroscience for Architecture (ANFA), Meredith gained research experience in cognitive science by working with Dr. Layne Kalbfleisch, cognitive neuroscientist and director of KIDLAB at the Krasnow Institute, George Mason University, examining scale effects on cognition in children and the aging population, and the role of visual stimuli in problem solving.

Meredith has developed her research interests at University of Colorado as a Faculty Affiliate with the Children, Youth and Environments (CYE) research center on projects such as “Designing for Children’s Active Outdoor Play and Nature Exploration”, with the interdisciplinary Lifelong Learning and Design (L3D) Center in research on “Social-technical tools for sensemaking and sketching”, a study in human-computer interaction design examining how technological tools and applications can enhance the collaborative design process which was presented at and published by the Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) International 2009 Conference. She is currently working with campus Disability Services by developing a course supporting their project on “Promoting Universal Design through Exploration of Virtual Environments”.

Meredith earned an HAB from Xavier University double majoring in classics and natural sciences, an MArch from Arizona State University, and has studied classical archeology at the American School in Athens. She has professional experience as a project designer for an architecture firm specializing in higher education and healthcare projects. Meredith has taught architectural studios at Arizona State University, and The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., including the 2006 Summer Institute for Architecture.

Banasiak, M. “From Benchtop to Bedside: Exchanging research lessons learned in an undergraduateprogram. American Institute of Architects 2008 RFP Report


Eve Edelstein, M.Arch., Ph.D., EDAC, Assoc. AIA 
Eve has a Ph.D. in Neurophysiology from the University College London, a B.A. in Anthropology from the University of California, Berkeley, and a Master ofArchitecture, from the New School of Architecture & Design, San Diego receiving the AIA Henry Adams Certificate of Merit for Excellence in the Study of Architecture.

While in London, her research at the National Hospital for Neurology & Neurosurgery explored the electrophysiology of efferent nerve fibers that feedback from the central nervous system to the cochlear cells of the inner ear, and demonstrated sensitive clinical methods to assess hearing dysfunction related to detection of sounds in noise. Her work also contributed to the implementation of the world’s largest universal program testing newborn and infant hearing (State of California). In addition, she coordinated and conducted clinical and research investigations of vestibular dysfunction, and studies leading toward medical prevention and restoration of noise induced hearing loss (Spatial Orientation Center, U.S. Naval Medical Center).

In 2003, Dr. Edelstein and John Eberhard, FAIA, designed and began teaching the first series of courses in Neuroscience for Architecture at the NewSchool of Architecture & Design, San Diego, and with Eduardo Macagno, PhD, taught Senior Seminar on Neuroscience and Architecture at the University of California San Diego.  Eve continues to publish, speak and conduct research-based design studies internationally.

Since 2005, Dr. Edelstein has been collaborating with the University of California at San Diego on several projects.  As Principal Investigator for the AIA Academy of Architecture for Health Foundation Award, collaborations with Eduardo Macagno, PhD, the UCSD SuperComputer Group and Library Sciences leadership reported on systems necessary to integrate knowledge bases across all disciplines relevant to research-based design.

Working with Prof. Eduardo Macagno and the California Institute of Telecommunications and Information Technology (Calit2), the team has developed synchronous systems to explore the human body and brain’s response to design while immersed in full-scale, three-dimension projections of a building within a Virtual Reality “CAVE”. With a research gift from HMC Architects, they created novel software enabling architects to immediately experience and assess design changes in which multiple design hypotheses can be tested. The team developed remote EEG systems to track navigation and visual attention, tracking how a person reacts to specific wayfinding cues and architectural features.

Dr. Edelstein’s application of research to design is exemplified by her studies for the AIA College of Fellows Latrobe project demonstrating the influence of lighting on health.  The City Center Development Corp awarded the Best Urban Sustainable Practice Award for her study of the human element in sustainable design, during her previous role as Senior Vice President Research & Design for HMC Architects.

Dr. Edelstein directed studies at the Salk Institute of Biological Sciences that related neuroscience concepts to design concepts (Study of Enriched Laboratory Design, 2004 with Dr. Albright), and at the Interwork Institute, San Diego State University (Study of Educational Facility Design for Neurological or Physical Disabilities, 2004 with Drs. Sax and McFarlane).  Eve consulted on a 1 million SF academic medical and research center to incorporate evidence-based guidelines for the Canadian Ministry of Health Center for Mountain Health Services

At present, Dr, Edelstein consults on design and on research projects as President of Innovative Design Sciences.  Eve serves as liaison to the AIA Academy of Architecture for Health and the American Society for Healthcare Engineering (ASHE) of the American Hospital Association (AHA).

Zhang L., Chi Y.M., Edelstein E., Schulze J., Gramann, K., Velasquez, A. Cauwenberghs, G. and Macagno, E. (2010) Wireless Physiological Monitoring and Ocular Tracking: 3D Calibration in a Fully-Immersive Virtual Health Care Environment. 32nd Annual International Conference of the 
IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society
 “Merging Medical Humanism and Technology”. August 31 – September 4, 2010 Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Edelstein, E.A. (2009) Influence of Lighting on Health. InformeDesign. Vol.7, Issue 02. www.informedesign.umn.edu.

Edelstein, E. A. (2008) Searching for Evidence. Health Environments Research & Design Journal. Vol 1, No. 4. pp 40-60.

Edelstein E. A. (2008) Building Health. Health Environments Research & Design Journal. Vol 1. No.2, pp 54-59

Edelstein, E. A., Gramann, K., Schulze, J., Shamlo, N. B., van Erp, E., Vankov, A. Makeig, S., Wolszon, L., Macagno, E. (2008) Neural Responses during Navigation and Wayfinding in the Virtual Aided Design Laboratory – Brain Dynamics of Re-Orientation in Architecturally Ambiguous Space. In SFB/TR 8 Report No. 015-05/2008. Report Series of the Transregional Collaborative Research Center SFB/TR 8 Spatial Cognition. Haq, S., Hölscher, C., Torgrude, S. (Eds.) P35-41. Accessed www.sfbtr8.uni-bremen.de May 27, 2008.

Edelstein E. A. & Marks F. (2007) Lab Design and the Brain: Translating physiological and neurological evidence into design. 2008 Laboratory Design Handbook. Supplement to R&D Magazine. Nov 2007. Rockaway, NJ.

Edelstein, E. A., Ellis, R J., Sollers III, J. J., Thayer, J. F. (2007) The Effects of Lighting on Autonomic Control of the Heart. Society for Psychophyiological Research Proceedings. Savannah, GA. October 17-21, 2007.


Melissa Farling, AIA, M.Arch
Melissa Farling joined ANFA as a Research Associate at the end of 2005. She received her BA in Architecture from the University of North Carolina, Charlotte and her BArch and MArch from the University of Arizona. Her more than twenty years of experience has focused on the design and project management of criminal justice facilities and large-scale public projects.  In 2007 she joined the firm of Jones Studio, Inc. in Phoenix, AZ.  Prior to that Melissa served as Vice President with Gould Evans in the Phoenix office.

Her passion for studying the effects of architecture on behavior began with her Master’s thesis, which explored these affects in a highly restricted environment: a state prison. Ms. Farling serves as a local AIA Chapter Past President on the Central Arizona Chapter Foundation Board and sits on the Board of Gnosis Ltd, a non-profit organization which seeks to preserve and present the significant creative contributions of individuals who have changed our world. In her preparation for research linking neuroscience and correctional facility design, Melissa audited graduate behavioral neuroscience classes at Arizona State University. In 2005-2007, she also observed research in the laboratory of Dr. Jiping He, Professor,  School of Biological & Health Systems Engineering at Arizona State University. Dr. He pursues research aimed at helping people with Central Nervous System impairments using advanced neural implant devices for brain-machine interfaces.

Melissa has co-chaired 2 workshops:  “Neuroscience and Correctional Facility Design Workshop” (New Orleans, LA, 2006) and “Neuroscience and Courthouse Design Workshop” (Brooklyn, NY, 2007).  The former workshop led to a project that Melissa recently finished with Jay Farbstein, PhD, FAIA, Richard Wener, PhD, Jon Soller, PhD and Julian Thayer, PhD.  The project for the Academy of Architecture for Justice (AAJ) of the AIA was a pilot study funded primarily through a cooperative agreement from the National Institute of Corrections. The study focused on the impact of visual features (color and nature) on stress in an intake/booking center at a Northern California jail (Sonoma County). This was done by measuring heart rate variability in jail booking area staff pre and post providing the staff with views of nature. Polar monitor procedures were used to collect date from all three shifts (four officers per shift) on a typical Friday and Saturday. At the end of their shift, after the monitors were removed, a Perceived Stress Scale questionnaire was administered, as well as a “backward digit span” test (which tests mental agility and fatigue), and a staff shift survey. At the completion of the initial data collection process (a period called the “pre-intervention” stage) a mural carefully selected to portray natural views of nature (with the help of Upali Nanda, PhD) was installed for 6 weeks. During this period (called the “post-intervention” stage) another set of measurements was made of the same officers.  The final paper titled “Developing the Evidence for Evidence-Based Design:  Impact of Simulated Nature Views on Stress in a Correctional Setting” is pending.

Ms. Farling is currently applying evidence-based design principles and research on three projects:  (1) as member of a team working on an Arizona K-12 primer;  (2) as contributing author of an AAJ committee writing a “Green Guide to Justice”; and (3) as Project Manager of the Jones Studio design team working on the Mariposa Land Port of Entry in Nogales, Arizona.  The port is designed around the concept of creating an oasis within a bustling vehicle and pedestrian processing station. The intent of this idea is to infuse the human experience – both the visitor and the day to day employees – with a connection to nature and thus some dignity and relief from daily stress.


Kate Meairs, Architect
Kate Meairs received her degree in architecture from the University of Colorado and has been practicing architecture for 11 years in a variety of areas including commercial, residential and hospitality. Her interest in Neuroscience began with her friendship with Gordon Shaw, Professor Emeritus at University of California Irvine in Brain Theory and Elementary Particle theory. Shaw was interested in the spatial-temporal abilities of architects. Kate and Shaw talked in depth about the architect’s ability to recognize the relationships between objects and to mentally transform them through space and over time without a physical representation.

The cerebral friendship with Shaw encouraged Kate to pursue additional connections neuroscience would have with the field of architecture.

After connecting with the Academy of Neuroscience for Architecture, Kate continued her education and passion with classes in Neuroscience at the University of California San Diego as well as working at UCSD in Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience Laboratory directed by Joan Stiles.

In the Stiles Lab, Kate aided in the research and investigation of cultural differences effecting visual pattern processing development in young children.

Stiles, J., & Reese, C.J. (2005). Hemispheric specialization for categorical and coordinate spatial relations during an image generation task: evidence from children and adultsNeuropsychologia43(4): 517-529.

Hemispheric specialization of categorical and coordinate image generation was assessed in adults, 8-year-old and 10-year-old children. In a standardized image generation task, participants decided whether probes, presented in a blank grid (categorical task) or bracketed square (coordinate task), would have appeared on a previously studied letter. To ensure that participants mentally generated the target letter, probe location was varied. “Early” probes appeared on letter segments that are first produced when the letter is drawn; while “late” probes appeared on later produced segments. Like previous adult studies, the grid task elicited a left hemisphere “categorical” strategy; while the bracket task elicits a right hemisphere “coordinate” strategy. However, contrary to previous research, the results reveal the significant and complex effects of probe location on categorical and coordinate image generation abilities. The left hemisphere dissociation was evident only for 10-year-olds and adults, suggesting that younger children are not yet proficient in generating spatial representations.

With the Academy of Neuroscience for Architecture, Kate participated and helped develop workshops in Elementary School Design as well as Healthcare Facilities. Kate continues her pursuit of useful connections between the field of neuroscience and the practice of architecture.

In addition to practicing architecture and working with ANFA, Kate has also served as the Chair of the San Diego AIA Urban Design Committee.


Ilya Monosov
Ilya Monosov, who has a Bachelor of Science in Biology from the University of California San Diego, became a graduate architecture student at the NewSchool in the Master of Science program in 2003.  He taught an undergraduate course in Environmental Biology, and worked in the laboratory of Dr. Ursula Bellugi, Professor and Director of the Laboratory for Cognitive Neuroscience at the Salk Institute.  Ilya is presently a Ph.D. candidate at the Brown-NIH Graduate Partnership Program, Brown Department of Neuroscience and  is currently a doctoral candidate in a special program of  the Laboratory of Sensorimotor Research, National Eye Institute, National Institutes of Health.  His research involves training macaques (monkeys) to do visual tasks especially in the frontal eye field (FEF) of the prefrontal cortex.

Ilya and two of his colleagues (Jason C. Trageser and Kirk G. Thompson) have published an article on their research entitled: Measurements of Simultaneously Recorded Spiking Activity and Local Field Potentials Suggest that Spatial Selection Emerges in the Frontal Eye Field. The article appears in Neuron 57, 614-625, February 28, 2008 ª2008 Elsevier Inc.

The frontal eye field (FEF) participates in selecting the location of behaviorally relevant stimuli for guiding attention and eye movements. We simultaneously recorded local field potentials (LFPs) and spiking activity in the FEF of monkeys performing memory-guided saccade and covert visual search tasks. We compared visual latencies and the time course of spatially selective responses in LFPs and spiking activity. Consistent with the view that LFPs represent synaptic input, visual responses appeared first in the LFPs followed by visual responses in the

spiking activity. However, spatially selective activity identifying the location of the target in the visual search array appeared in the spikes about 30 ms before it appeared in the LFPs. Because LFPs reflect dendritic input and spikes measure neuronal output in a local brain region, this temporal relationship suggests that spatial selection necessary for attention and eye movements is computed locally in FEF from spatially nonselective inputs.


Upali Nanda
Upali graduated from high school in New Delhi, and then received a Bachelor of Architecture degree from the School of Planning and Architecture in New Delhi. In 2001 she received a Masters degree from the National University of Singapore. In 2005 she was awarded a Doctor of Philosophy degree in Architecture at Texas A&M University.

Her thesis investigating cross modal issues in sensory design was multidisciplinary, drawing upon the fields of architecture, anthropology, environment-behavior, psychology and cognitive neuroscience. It was  published in 2008 as a book by VDM-Verlag Publishers and is available on Amazon. It is titled: Sensthetics: A Crossmodal approach to Sensory Design.

Upali also published a chapter titled “The Ventriloquist Effect in Architectural Design”; making the connection between perceptual illusions and design principles. The chapter can be found in the book is titled In the Place of Sound: Architecture|Music|Acoustics.

Since February 2006 Upali has been working as the VP and Director of Research at American Art Resources, Houston, TX. She has been responsible for conducting research studies on the effect of visual images in the healthcare industry. Her research has investigated the art preferences of adult inpatients, pediatric inpatients, and long-term care residents. She is now working on collecting more scientific data in terms of physiological responses to visual stimuli in the second phase of the pediatric patients study.  She is also working on analyzing the effect of audio-visual stimuli on wait-time perception and the overall waiting experience.

Since joining her new position Upali has presented at various conferences such as the Healthcare Design Conference (’06, ’07), Healthcare Facilities Symposium (’07. ’08), Society for Arts for Healthcare (’08), Patient and Family Centered Care Conference (’08), Oncology Nurses Conference (’08), and the Environmental Design and Research Association Conference (’08). She has also given invited talks to the AIA, Texas A&M University and the Center for Health Design. Alongwith her CEO and Creative Director Kathy Hathorn, Upali routinely presents her research to various architecture and design firms.

She has published her research at American Art in the Environment & Behavior Journal, Healthcare Design Magazine, Facility Care Magazine, Asian Hospital & Healthcare Management magazine, and as a white paper for the Center for Health Design.


Margaret Tarampi, M.Arch., Ph.D., Assoc. AIA
Margaret received a Bachelor of Architecture with minors in Psychology and Architectural History from Carnegie Mellon University. Margaret served as the American Institute of Architecture Students (AIAS) Carnegie Mellon Chapter President for two years and as AIAS National Director of the Northeast Quadrant from 2000-2001. Her work at Carnegie Mellon and with the AIAS was awarded with several university and national honors including a 2004 National AIAS Presidential Citation, the CMU Alumni Association 2001 Student Service Award, the CMU 2001 Senior Leadership Award, the 2000 National AIAS Student Research Honor Award and the 1999 National AIAS Chapter President Honor Award.

From 2004-2007, Margaret worked as a research assistant in a variety of neuroscience laboratories at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies and at the University of California San Diego, including the Vision Center Laboratory of Thomas Albright, PhD, the Computational Neurobiology Laboratory of Lisa Stefanacci, PhD, the Systems Neurobiology Laboratory of Geoffrey Boynton, PhD, and the Center for Autism Research of Eric Courchesne, PhD.  These working experiences broadened her exposure to neuroscience methods. Margaret pursued a Master of Architecture degree at the Washington Alexandria Architecture Center of Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. Her thesis was titled “Neuro-architecture: How design, designs us.” Her thesis was the basis of an introductory course titled “Neuroscience for Architects I” that she taught at NewSchool of Architecture and Design in San Diego CA.

In 2007, Margaret entered a psychology PhD program at the University of Utah.  In 2010, she received a Master of Science in Psychology. Her thesis was titled “Complex Spatial Updating in Simulated Low Vision.”   Her thesis work was published in Attention, Perception, & Psychophysics (link here) in January 2010.  Margaret is part of a multi-disciplinary research team (involving personnel from the University of Utah, University of Minnesota, and Indiana University) supported by the National Eye Institute of the National Institutes of Health grant 1 R01 EY017835-01.  Their project title is “Designing Visually Accessible Spaces (DEVA).”  The long term goal of this project is to provide tools to enable the design of safe environments for the mobility of low-vision individuals and to enhance safety for others, including the elderly, who may need to operate under low luminance and other visually challenging conditions.  They envision a computer-based design tool in which complex, real-world environments (such as a hotel lobby, a large classroom, or a hospital reception area), could be simulated with sufficient accuracy to predict the visibility of key landmarks or obstacles (e.g. steps or benches) under a variety of natural and artificial lighting conditions.  Margaret was part of a panel that presented the DEVA research at a seminar at LightFair International 2010 in Las Vegas NV and she will be presenting the DEVA research at a seminar at the AIA 2010 National Convention in Miami FL.

At University of Utah, Margaret is heavily involved in professional and community service work. She is an active member of the Diversity Committee in the Department of Psychology, serves as webmaster and as a construction volunteer for Habitat for Humanity of Weber and Davis Counties, and volunteers her design and art talents to local non-profits. Her volunteer work was recognized through a 2008 Commendation for Service from the Department of Psychology and the 2010 Kevin Hawley Memorial Award.

Margaret completed her PhD from University of Utah in 2013 and is currently a Junior Research Fellow at the SAGE Center for the Study of the Mind at UC Santa Barbara and a postdoctoral researcher working with Mary Hegarty in the UCSB Department of Psychological & Brain Sciences.