Our People

Prof. Sarah Bekessy

BSUD Project Lead

Sarah leads the Interdisciplinary Conservation Science Research Group (ICON Science). Professor and ARC Future Fellow at RMIT’s School of Global, Urban and Social Studies, she is interested in the intersection between science and policy in environmental management. Sarah and Georgia developed the BSUD framework together in 2018.

Dr. Georgia Garrard

BSUD Project Lead

Georgia is a senior lecturer in the Office for Environmental Programs and School of Ecosystem and Forest Sciences at The University of Melbourne. Her research addresses the critical challenges of conserving biodiversity in an increasingly human-dominated world. Georgia and Sarah developed the BSUD framework together in 2018.

Dr. Holly Kirk


Holly is an experienced urban ecologist working to translate scientific theory into positive on-ground action for people and nature. A specialist in spatial modelling and natural history, Holly has been combining these skills to optimise how we make space for nature during the urban planning process.

Dr. Casey Visintin


Trained as an architect and urban planner, Casey has ten years of experience working in a multinational firm on large urban development and sustainable building projects. Casey obtained his PhD in Applied Ecology to support his passion for biological conservation. His research focuses on integrating the disciplines of architecture and ecology.

Dr. Thami Croeser


Thami is an urban planner and spatial analyst with a specialist interest in urban greening, and a history of delivering greening projects and policy in Melbourne’s most urbanised spaces. His research focuses on understanding how to overcome the challenges urban planners face when creating space for nature in cities & finding innovative solutions to those challenges.

Dr. Katherine Berthon


Katherine’s research investigates the drivers of biodiversity change and function in urban landscapes. She uses a variety of methods to understand the influence of design on plant-insect relationships including entomological surveys, field experiments and DNA metabarcoding. Katherine's work informs design guidelines to enhance biodiversity in urban greenspaces.

Cristina Hernandez Santin

PhD Researcher

Cristina is a passionate regenerative designer who seeks to translate ecological knowledge to support ‘place’ for both humans and non-humans to coexist. Her research explores participatory design processes for the non-humans to have a voice within planning and design processes as a pathway to increase the biodiversity and resilience of our urban areas.

Fiona Hoegh-Guldberg

PhD Researcher

Fiona is a PhD candidate investigating synergies and tradeoffs between biodiversity, climate mitigation and human wellbeing. Fiona recently completed a Masters of Environment at the University of Melbourne studying ‘Sustainable Cities, Sustainable Regions’ and ‘Climate Change Mitigation.

Beth Kiss

PhD Researcher

Beth comes from the Architecture and Planning industry, having spent some years working in consultancy and private practice. Her interdisciplinary skill set is applied to her PhD research aims to deliver improved biodiversity outcomes at the Architecture and Urban Design scale.

Thomas de Aizpurual

BSUD Intern

Tom is completing his Bachelor of Environment & Society at RMIT University. He is excited to learn more about how applied research work takes place and is enjoying working on the BSUD project as a research assistant.

Our Supporters & Collaborators

The Biodiversity Sensitive Urban Design team are funded by The Ian Potter Foundation, The Naylor Stewart Foundation and Rainspark Capital. 
We would also like to thank our key industry collaborators, Lendlease and Yarra Valley Water