Graduate Catalog
Policies, Procedures, Academic Programs
Bio-Inspired Buildings
Interdisciplinary Academic Programs
Bishop-Favrao Hall is a 31,600 GSF laboratory facility adjacent to Cowgill Hall, which is home to the Myers-Lawson School of Construction. The building houses administrative and faculty offices for the Department of Building Construction, the Construction Engineering and Management Program, and the Program in Real Estate. In addition to providing classroom space, seminar rooms, and studios, the facility also provides state-of-the-art laboratory spaces, including testing labs, wet labs, material handling, tool labs, and workshops for assembly of construction systems.
Myers-Lawson School of Construction Bishop-Favrao Hall 1345 Perry St. Blacksburg VA 24061
Bishop-Favrao Hall
Degree(s) Offered:
IGEP Degree in Bio-Inspired Buildings
Minimum GPA: 3.0
Offered In:
Email Contact(s):
Web Resource(s):
Phone Number(s):
Application Deadlines:
Fall: Apr 01
Spring: Sep 01
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Graduate Program Director : Annie Pearce (Associate Professor)
Emeriti Faculty: Susan Day (Vancouver, BC); Paula Relf
Professors: Virginia Buechner-Maxwell; Michael Garvin; Ignacio Moore; Rolf Mueller; Georg Reichard; Walid Saad
Associate Professors: Dwight Bigler; Jonathan Boreyko; Bryan Brown; Amy Brunner; Erica Feuerbacher; Steven Hankey; Farrokh Jazizadeh Karimi; Annie Pearce; Jennifer Russell; Earl Shealy
Assistant Professors: Xinghua Gao; Frederick Paige
Associate Professor of Practice: Benjamin Chambers

BioInspired Buildings (BioBuild)

The BioBuild Interdisciplinary Graduate Education Program answers the pressing societal need for professionals with the interdisciplinary expertise necessary to redefine how we develop buildings, infrastructure, and communities.  The emerging fields of bioinspiration, biointegration, and bioinclusivity provide paths towards this objective. A bioinspired built environment capitalizes on the regulative, adaptive, and integrative characteristics of biological systems and incorporates or mimics these features as part of the constructed world.  In contrast, a biointegrated built environment situates constructed facilities amidst natural systems to achieve complementarity, with natural systems providing useful services to support human needs and aspirations.  Finally, bioinclusive built environments afford integrative habitats for humans and non-humans coexisting together, with the needs and aspirations of both taken into account such that synergies between them can be realized. In doing so, buildings and infrastructure will more optimally respond to changing conditions and expectations – which will make the interdependent built environment more sustainable, parsimonious, and resilient, as well as ecologically integrated. 

Graduates of the BioBuild program will have an immediate impact in university and industrial settings, and they will change the relationship between the built environment and our planet.  We do this by bringing together faculty from departments in CAAD, COE, COS, CVM, CNRE, CALS, and CLAHS to deliver a program that explores the human-constructed world and biological and ecological systems synergistically to discover innovative connections between these disciplines.

BioBuild Fellows can receive one year or more of financial support from the BioBuild program while working toward a degree from a doctoral program associated with any BioBuild-affiliated faculty. To receive full consideration for financial support from the BioBuild Program in the following academic year, potential faculty advisors should contact the BioBuild Director as soon as possible to inquire about funding availability for new fellows. Requests will be accepted no later than April 1 for fall entry or September 1 for spring entry.

Participating Colleges, Departments, and Faculty:  

College of Agriculture & Life Sciences (CALS)

    School of Animal Sciences - Erica Feuerbacher

    Horticulture - Diane Relf

College of Architecture, Art, & Design (CAAD)

    School of Performing Arts - Dwight Bigler

College of Engineering (COE)

    Biomedical Engineering & Mechanics - Jonathan Boreyko

    Building Construction - Annie Pearce, Georg Reichard

    Civil and Environmental Engineering - Michael Garvin, Farrokh Jazizadeh, Freddy Paige, Tripp Shealy

    Construction Engineering & Management - Xinghua Gao

    Electrical and Computer Engineering - Walid Saad

    Engineering Education - Ben Chambers

    Mechanical Engineering - Rolf Mueller 

College of Science (COS)

    Biological Sciences - Bryan Brown, Ignacio Moore

College of Veterinary Medicine (CVM)

     Large Animal Clinical Sciences – Virginia Buechner-Maxwell

College of Natural Resources and Environment (CNRE)

     Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation – Amy Brunner, Susan Day

     Sustainable Biomaterials - Jennifer Russell

College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences (CLAHS)

      Urban Affairs & Planning - Steve Hankey

For more information, please visit our web-site at or send a request for information to Please also reach out directly to any faculty with complementary interests at Virginia Tech and let them know you are interested in being a BioBuild Fellow. Faculty who are interested in working with you may contact Dr. Annie Pearce for more information about funding and other resources and requirements. 

Offered In (Blacksburg)

Degree Requirements

Minimum GPA: 3.0
Institution code: 5859
Testing Requirements:
Students in the Bio-inspired Buildings (BioBuild) program earn their doctoral degree from one of the degree-granting programs in which their BioBuild-affiliated advisor(s) is located.  Please see a list of faculty and current participating programs in the Program Introduction and visit specific programs of interest in the Graduate Catalog to review the requirements for those degree programs. 

We recommend that you identify specific BioBuild faculty aligned with your research interests and contact them directly to discuss the possibility of enrollment in their doctoral degree program as a BioBuild student. You may also contact other faculty with relevant research interests who are not listed as current BioBuild affiliate faculty. Please mention the BioBuild program as a possible funding source and encourage these faculty to contact BioBuild Director Dr. Annie Pearce ( regarding requirements for BioBuild affiliation. 

Facilities Introduction

Our program involves multiple colleges and departments located in facilities across campus.  The program is headquartered in Bishop-Favrao Hall, which was opened in 2007 and includes state-of-the-art classrooms, laboratories, a fully functional Build Lab, meeting rooms, and faculty/student offices. It is also the home of the Myers-Lawson School of Construction and the Department of Building Construction.  Additional facilities supporting the program include Derring Hall, Goodwin Hall, Norris Hall, and Patton Hall where faculty from the Department of Biological Sciences, the the Department of Mechanical Engineering, the Department of Biomedical Engineering & Mechanics and the Via Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering have laboratory and office space respectively. 

BioBuild research is also done outdoors on campus as a living laboratory as well as in surrounding communities, including Blacksburg, Christiansburg, Radford, Montgomery County, Floyd County, Giles County, Salem, and Roanoke. 


BioBuild is an interdisciplinary program and shares facilities among departments across campus.  Our research and learning facilities are located in Bishop-Favrao Hall, Derring Hall, Goodwin Hall, Patton Hall, and the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine on campus, as well as outdoors on and off campus and in local communities.