Dr. Melissa Bilec is an associate professor in the Swanson School of Engineering’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering; she is the Deputy Director of the Mascaro Center for Sustainable Innovation. She is also the Roberta A. Luxbacher Faculty Fellow, and she serves as the Pitt STRIVE Director of Faculty Community Building and Engagement for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.
Dr. Bilec’s research focuses on the sustainable built environment. She explores system-level environmental performance of buildings, while developing a deeper understanding of environmental impacts, energy use, and indoor air quality. She is an expert in life cycle assessment (LCA), and works to advance LCA through method development. Dr. Bilec is personally interested in high-impact research that addresses significant societal challenges through innovative research approaches. Most recently, she is working to solve the global plastic waste challenge through the advancement and development of circular economy principles. At a local level, she collaborates with local businesses and communities to promote ambient and indoor air quality awareness through air quality monitoring, civic engagement, and citizen science.
Dr. Bilec has published 74 journal articles and 52 conference proceedings and has secured $8.2 million in funding, including 11 National Science Foundation grants. She has received four education excellence awards, and she developed a new M.S. in Sustainable Engineering degree and co-developed a university-wide undergraduate certificate in sustainability. Dr. Bilec is committed to diversity, inclusion, and equity. She serves on the Engineering Diversity Advisory Committee and NSF Pitt STRIVE Leadership team, along with being co-faculty advisor for Pitt Society for Women Engineering. She was awarded the School of Engineering Diversity Award 2017-2018 and received Senior Vice Chancellor for Engagement’s Partnerships of Distinction award in 2019. Dr. Bilec’s work prior to academia focused on green infrastructure projects, including the conversion of a 100-year bridge into a pedestrian bridge.