Guelph Green Roof


About Us
On-going Research
Related Links
Contact Us

link to CESRF website

The green roof team

Photo of Dr. Youbin Zheng, Ph.D., MPhil., MSc., BSc. Dr. Youbin Zheng, Ph.D., MPhil., MSc., BSc.

Dr. Zheng, Environmental Horticulture Chair of the University of Guelph and Vineland Research and Innovation Centre, is the principle investigator (PI) and founder of the Guelph Green Roof Research Program. The objectives of his research program are to develop technologies for producing plant materials in a sustainable and environmentally friendly manner; to develop and use horticultural technologies for improving our environment and to help build a sustainable society. He has more than 20 years’ experience in horticulture research, specifically in green roof technology, greenhouse and nursery plant production, and urban agriculture. Dr. Zheng’s expertise includes soil science, growing substrates, irrigation and irrigation water treatment, plant nutrition and fertilization, supplemental lighting, plant physiology, plant-environment interactions and other sustainable plant production related technologies.

For more information about Dr. Zheng's research, please click:

Photo of Dr Mike Dixon, Ph.D. Dr Mike Dixon, Ph.D.

Dr. Dixon is a co-PI of the green roof research program, the director of the Controlled Environment Systems Research Facility (CESRF) and program at the University of Guelph, and was the chair of the Department of Environmental Biology from 2003-2008. As project leader for the Canadian research team investigating the contributions of plants to life support in space, Dr. Dixon formed the Space and Advanced Life Support Agriculture program at the University of Guelph. This program currently represents Canada's prime contribution to the international space science objectives in life support and the Controlled Environment Systems Research Facility (CESRF) currently leads the world in technology developments and research dedicated to studying plant and microbial interactions in advanced life support systems. Dr. Dixon is also the project leader for the research team at Guelph investigating the biofiltration of indoor air as a method of alleviating what is commonly known as "sick building syndrome".
Photo of Greg Yuristy, MSc Student Greg Yuristy, MSc., BSc., Research Associate

Mr. Yuristy began researching green roofs in 2009 beginning as a graduate student under Dr. Zheng. Greg is specialized in green roof growing substrates, green roof growing systems, general roofing systems as well as green roof plant production technologies. Greg has had a lifelong interest in green building technologies and over a decade of construction and construction management experience. Although he is an enthusiastic student of all things green roof related, his primary focus is directed towards increasing green roof performance through innovation and science.
Photo of Katie Vinson, Technician Katie Vinson, Technician

Ms. Vinson is specialized in the following areas:
  • Plant biology
  • Plant maintenance
  • Horticulture
After obtaining an undergraduate degree, majoring in Plant Biology, Katie started to work on green roof and other horticulture plant production research in the School of Environmental Sciences at the University of Guelph. Katie works toward finding a wider selection of plant species that can be used in green roof projects. These plants are not only easy to grow and maintain, but are also fairly familiar to the general public, thus helping to increase the popularity of green roofs. The goal is to find many plants and plant combinations which are suitable for growing on green roofs in northern climates. This will then help green roofs in these regions become more successful, especially long-term, and will facilitate the continuous expansion of the green roof industry.

Photo of Mary Jane Clark M.Sc. Horticulturist Mary Jane Clark, M.Sc. Horticulturist

Specializes in the following areas:
  • Green Roof fertilization
  • Green Roof irrigation
  • Plant biology
  • Horticulture
  • Landscape design
Mary Jane grew up on a farm and has always been interested in gardening and growing plants. She enhanced this interest while studying at the University of Guelph (BSc. Plant Biology, MSc. Horticulture), specifically while studying pollination systems in fireweed and drought tolerance and breeding of Aquilegia. Mary Jane is now pleased to be working with the Green Roofs for Northern Climates research team at the University of Guelph, developing fertilizer and irrigation recommendations for green roof systems.
Photo of Tyson Jennett Tyson S. Jennett, M.Sc.

Tyson completed a B.Sc. in Environmental Science studying Environmental Monitoring and Analysis. In 2011 he completed a M.Sc. in Land Resource Science with a specialization in Toxicology, followed by two years as a research associate in the laboratory of Beverley Hale at the University of Guelph. In 2014 he returned to the University of Guelph to begin a Ph.D. with Dr. Youbin Zheng. His current research involves the physical and chemical characterization of green roof substrate components using potentiometric titration, specific surface analysis, batch adsorption experiments, and soil modeling to optimize physical and chemical characteristics of blended substrates. His goals include the development of substrates that show good growing characteristics for plants, as well as high water and nutrient retention, with an emphasis on reducing phosphorus pollution in runoff.

Former green roof team members

Photo of Linping Wang M.Sc. Plant Biologist and Horticulturist Linping Wang M.Sc. Plant Biologist and Horticulturist

Ms Wang is specialized in the following areas:
  • Plant production
  • Soil, water analysis
Photo of Dr. Lynn (Xiuling) Tian Plant Pathologist Dr. Lynn (Xiuling) Tian Plant Pathologist

Dr. Tian is specialized in the following areas:
  • Plant pathogen
  • Using beneficial microorganisms for pathogen control
  • Utilizing pathogen suppression properties of certain growing substrate for sustainable pathogen control
Photo of Siobhan Dunets Siobhan Dunets

Siobhan is an undergraduate student majoring in Earth and Atmospheric Sciences. She developed an interest in soil sciences early in her university career and has since expanded this interest to soil-plant relationships in production. She is excited to be involved in the Green Roof Research Program, and plans to enhance her understanding of green roofs and relevant production technology while contributing to the research. For the future, Siobhan hopes to focus on sustainable and efficient plant production, particularly in an urban context.

University of Guelph, Bovey Building, 50 Stone Road East, Guelph, ON, N1G 2W1