International Institute for Substainable Laboratories

2018 Opening Plenary Panel

When in Research Triangle Park, do as the researchers do, and examine the evidence! I2SL has invited senior researchers, principal investigators, and environmental health and safety professionals from academia, government, and industry to share their views on laboratory design and use. With their primary research objectives in mind, these panelists will address their perspectives on space layout, ergonomics, shared spaces and equipment, IT services, storage, energy and environmental commitments, health and safety, space ownership, and more. Hear from this cross-section of laboratory users how design and operational decisions affect their important work, and what they would like to see in tomorrow’s sustainable labs.


  • Mark Paskanik, Senior Architect & Laboratory Design Expert, CRB


  • Gary Bird, Associate Scientist, Calcium Regulation Group, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS)
  • William Goldman, Ph.D., Professor and Chair, Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill
  • Ken Kretchman, Director, Environmental Health and Safety, North Carolina State University (NCSU)
  • Volker Mittendorf, Group Leader, Molecular Analytics, Biology Technology Platform, Syngenta
  • Mohamed Noor, Professor, Department of Biology, Duke University


Gary Bird headshotGary Bird
Associate Scientist, Calcium Regulation Group

After obtaining a Ph.D. in physiology from King’s College, London, Gary Bird joined the Calcium Regulatory Group at NIEHS in 1988. His research focuses on understanding the mechanism and role of intracellular calcium signaling in health and disease. The techniques used range from traditional biochemical techniques to fluorescence imaging, especially the dynamics of calcium ions at the single-cell level with high spatial and temporal resolution. With a diverse range of techniques, his laboratory space must be flexible to meet these needs.

William Goldman headshotWilliam Goldman, Ph.D.
Professor and Chair, Department of Microbiology and Immunology
UNC Chapel Hill

William Goldman is a professor and chair of microbiology and immunology. Prior to that appointment in 2008, he was on the faculty of Washington University for 25 years. His laboratory’s research focus has been on the pathogenesis of several infectious respiratory diseases, including histoplasmosis, whooping cough, and pneumonic plague. He is a fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology (since 2002) and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (since 2012), and he was president of the Association of Medical School Microbiology and Immunology Chairs (2017-2018).

Ken Kretchman headshotKen Kretchman
Director, Environmental Health and Safety

Ken Kretchman, CSP, CIH is director of environmental health and safety at North Carolina State University. Among his professional society activities, he is past chair and member of the American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA) Laboratory Health and Safety Committee, a member of the American National Standards Institute Z9.5 and Z9.7 committees, a member and fellow of American Chemical Society Division of Chemical Health and Safety Committee, and he represents AIHA as liaison to the International Code Council. He has 35 years of experience in private and academic research laboratories.

Volker Mittendorf headshotVolker Mittendorf
Group Leader Molecular Analytics, Biology Technology Platform

Volker Mittendorf is a group leader at Syngenta Crop Protection LLC in Research Triangle Park. His team is working in technology evaluation and implementation to support market-based breeding activities for over 20 crops. For the past 18 years, he has been working in agricultural biotechnology for BASF Plant Science LLC, and Syngenta.  He is a PMP® PMI certified project manager and has an MBA from North Carolina State University, with focus on marketing and innovation management. One of his current responsibilities at Syngenta is the coordination of the Lab Operations Committee that oversees lab activities at the Syngenta Innovation Center in Research Triangle Park, which has extensive modern lab facilities for more than 200 scientists.

Mohamed Noor headshotMohamed Noor
Professor, Department of Biology
Duke University

Mohamed Noor is a professor and former department chair of biology at Duke University. His team uses genetic and genomic studies of fruit flies to understand the changes associated with forming new species. He teaches courses on genetics and evolution, and has held many significant scientific society roles, including currently serving as the editor-in-chief of the research journal Evolution.


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