AskNature is a project of the Biomimicry Institute, built by and for the community. Since 2006, an evolving team of Biomimicry Institute staff members, volunteer contributors, advisors, and partner organizations have been striving to build a digital platform that connects innovators with the knowledge, ideas, and people that will enable them to imagine and develop circular and resilient solutions to society’s greatest challenges. Ready to join us? We are always welcome to inquiries about volunteering, advising, and employment.
Current Staff & Volunteers
Andrew Howley Chief Editor
Chief Editor of AskNature
Alexandra Ralevski Washington, United States Science Director
I am a postdoctoral associate at Yale University engaged in translational research in plant biology and neuroscience. My current work focuses on understanding conserved mechanisms of behavior in humans and plants. I am also interested in understanding the application of biological design to othe...
Rich Altherr Michigan, United States Volunteer Editor
I am the President and Owner of Nature Comes Standard LLC, a biomimicry-focused automotive engineering research and design consultancy. I am also the founder of the nonprofit Biomimicry Detroit that inspires (re)connection with nature, intellectual education, civic collaboration, and social acti...
Hannah Schulze Massachusetts Volunteer Editor
In 2018, I will be finishing up my BS in Biomedical Engineering from Wentworth Institute of Technology. I’ve always been a problem solver and want to learn more about how we can find solutions in the natural world—particularly in health and medical innovation. While researching for AskNature, I a...
Brittany Longpre Nova Scotia, Canada Volunteer Editor
Jordan Greer Massachusetts, United States Volunteer Editor
I am a design thinker, an engineer, and an ocean enthusiast with an apt to use biomimicry in everything I do.
Amanda Joy Ravenhill
Executive Director, Buckminster Fuller Institute
Amanda Joy Ravenhill is Executive Director of the Buckminster Fuller Institute and an active member of the international community focused on addressing imminent global challenges. She previously held the role of Co-Founder and Executive Director of Project Drawdown, a comprehensive plan to reverse global warming. Ravenhill is driven by her experience living and working internationally as well as her enthusiasm to integrate art and science.
Hugo Araujo is a Biomimicry Professional (2011-2013) and he designed from a Coastal Dune in the Mayan Peninsula 7Vortex: an ecosystemic platform that allows biomimics and sustainable professionals to gather, connect, curate & share multidisciplinary knowledge around Nature in a simple and beautiful way. Hugo worked for Nike, Unilever & Kimberly Clark and since 2007 has been working on Sustainable innovation from a multi-sectoral perspective. He developed a successful impact assessment methodology and implemented it for about 10 years in Indigenous Communities (+15), Foundations and International Organization such as the IMF, WB, etc. He is a strong believer of the Power of Human Nature to create positive impact in the Planet Earth.
Jacquelyn K. Nagel, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Engineering, James Madison University
Dr. Jacquelyn K. Nagel is an Associate Professor in the Department of Engineering at James Madison University. Dr. Nagel has been working in bio-inspired design since 2007. Her research focuses on developing engineering design tools and methods to make biological inspiration accessible to engineering design problems, as well as instructional resources for teaching bio-inspired design. She has applied her research to the areas of manufacturing, sensors, and alternative energy systems. In 2012, Dr. Nagel was recognized by the National eWeek Foundation and IEEE-USA as one of the New Faces of Engineering for her pioneering work in bio-inspired design.
Assistant Professor, Dartmouth College
Jeremy Faludi, Ph.D., LEED AP BD+C, is an assistant professor of engineering at Dartmouth, specializing in green product design methods and green 3D printing. He designed the prototype of AskNature.org, designed StreetNatureScore.com, and a bicycle he helped design was in the Smithsonian Cooper Hewitt museum in 2007. He authored VentureWell’s Tools for Design and Sustainability, the OECD’s guide to green 3D printing policy, and has contributed to six books, including Worldchanging: A User’s Guide to the 21st Century.
Kamal El-Wattar managed software localization companies for 17 years, leading teams in the Middle East, Asia and South America for clients such as HP, Microsoft, Nokia, Adobe, Medtronic, Ford and others, adapting their software for foreign markets. Additionally, he started several international trade service companies over a 20 year span, coordinating manufacturing in Asia. He holds degrees in linguistics and biomedical sciences. Nowadays he splits his time between supporting language revitalization through organizations like Wikitongues.org and Biomimicry education through The Biomimicry Institute.
Margery Moore, a leader and widely respected expert with 18 years of experience in environmental information management. Margery’s accomplishments include the creation of multiple products that continue to yield millions in annual sales and the development of long-lasting strategic partnerships with the largest players in the environment, health and safety compliance ecosystem. She has extensive experience working with both public and private sector clients in North America and around the world including many of the Fortune 1000. She is currently the CEO of Moore & Gasperecz Global Inc., which has just launched an AI-based application for the environmental compliance industry, ehsAI.
Teaching Professor, University of Calgary
Dr. Marjan Eggermont is a Teaching Professor in The Schulich School of Engineering at the University of Calgary, teaching in the areas of engineering design, technology and society, visualization, design history, and biomimicry. She is a Biomimicry Institute Fellow and the co-founder of Biomimicry Alberta. In 2013, she won Best of Biomimicry: Excellence in Biomimicry Education within a College or University at the Biomimicry Education Summit and Global Conference in Boston. She recently finished a PhD in Computational Media Design with a focus on bio-inspired data visualization. With co-editors Tom McKeag and Norbert Hoeller she started open-source bio-inspired design journal Zygote Quarterly (zqjournal.org) in March 2012.
Peter H. Niewiarowski
Peter H. Niewiarowski is a Professor of Integrated Biosciences (IB) and Biology at The University of Akron, where he co-founded and co-leads the Biomimicry Research and Innovation Center (BRIC). A primary focus of BRIC is to develop a robust model for an academic-industrial innovation interface through training of PhDs in biomimicry. Peter has active research in the evolution and ecology of amphibian and reptiles, with current focus on the study of adhesion in geckos, especially as it relates to biomimetic applications. He teaches biology and biomimicry at all levels across the curriculum including courses such as Advanced Ecology, Herpetology, Principles of Biology, Vertebrate Zoology, Tropical Vertebrate Biology, Theory and Foundations of Biomimicry, and Biomimicry Design. Peter has a BS in biology from Marlboro College, and a PhD in Ecology and Evolution from The University of Pennsylvania.
Richard James MacCowan
Founder + Managing Director of Biomimicry Innovation Lab
Richard is a former real estate consultant and designer having worked across Europe on projects from billion dollar asset transfers to new developments with LEGO and Grosvenor Estates. His passion for all things biomimetic and problem-solving started in his youth and it have never stopped since then. This has led to unexpected clients and opportunities with the BBC (and World Service), Superyacht design, luxury hotels and running a workshop in a nudest colony in the Balkans! Richard is developing new models for exploring biomimetics without the need to know biology with a team from around the world. Outside of his main role, he is the CEO of an equine tech startup, Smart Stable Limited, on the advisory board of LSW Hotels, and a visiting professor at the International Hellenic University teaching strategic product design. Having delivered keynotes and workshops around the world, Richard is know researching how we can get academia and industry to get more down in the biomimetics sphere, the main reason he setup his company in the first place.
Chief Solutions Officer at EQ.eco
Robert Suarez is the Chief Solutions Officer at EQ where he nurtures and develops innovative solutions that drive positive impact for the planet. After spending two decades working in Design and Innovation for large corporations, startups and impact partners, Robert knows what truly drives innovative ideas into market – understanding the needs and behaviors of people, systems and planet, leveraging emerging technologies and applying the right business models to scale new solutions.
Robert has led award winning design and innovation teams at Singularity University, IDEO and as founding member of multiple technology startups. He holds a BFA in Industrial Design from Carnegie Mellon University and a MS in Biomimicry from Arizona State University.
Ruben Kruiper is a PhD student within the Centre for Doctoral Training in Embedded Intelligence, based at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh. He is an Industrial Design Engineering graduate with a Master’s degree in Emerging Technology Design at the University of Twente. There, he worked with Robert Wendrich from RawShaping Technology on the creation of Hybrid Design tools that afford physical and virtual interaction. Currently, for his PhD, he is developing computational tools to support Biomimetic design under supervision of Yannis Konstas, Marc Desmulliez, Jessica Chen-Burger and Julian Vincent.
Biophilic Design Manager, International Living Future Institute
Tim is curious about how complex systems can adapt and evolve to achieve high performance. As a biologist Tim studied how rainforests, cancer cells, and biomaterials achieve their unusual characteristics. As a designer Tim is fascinated with behavior change and the importance of placing people at the center of design decisions. He has applied his training in both fields as a consultant, educator, and entrepreneur to create meaningful change that helps us reconcile our relationship with nature.
Britt Selvitelle, Earth Species Project
David Fox, Director of Development, Archive.org
Ethan Smith, Product Design Director, Whitespace R&D, lululemon
Ryan Kushner, The Accelerator Guy
Allie Miller, Volunteer Editor
Amber Wierck, Volunteer Editor
Andrea Leggitt, Designer, Illustrator
Anna Guerrero, Volunteer Illustrator
Ashley Meyers, Volunteer Editor
Ayda Uraz, Volunteer Author
Bryony Schwan, Promotion
Carl Hastrich, Advisor
Chris Allen, Program Director
Dimitri Smirnoff, Volunteer Editor
Dona Boggs, Content Contributor
Eleanor Banwell, Content Contributor
Eli Weissman, Volunteer Editor
Emily Harrington, Illustrator
Erin Rovalo, User Researcher
Ethan Smith, Program Director
Hannah Schulze, Volunteer Editor
Isamu Taguchi, Frontend Designer
Jamie Klein, Content Contribuor
Janine Benyus, Conception, Content Contributor
Jeanette Lim, Content & Community Manager
Jen Hubber, Content Contributor
Jennifer Schill , Content & Community Manager
Jeremy Faludi, Conception, Software Architect
John Laux, Program Director
John Webb, Advisor
Jon-Michael Deldin, Software Developer
Leon Wang, Volunteer Editor
Lou Ghaddar, Frontend Designer
Megan Schuknecht, Content Management
Melissa Moore, Content Contributor
Natalie Chen, Volunteer Editor
Rachel Major, Volunteer Editor
Sam Gochman, Volunteer Author
Sam Stier, Content Contributor
Sarah Dodge, Volunteer Author
Scott Fossel, Strategic Partner Development
Scott Halstvedt, Software Developer
Shanley Carlton, Volunteer Editor
Sherry Ritter, Content Editor
Thomas McAuley-Biasi, Volunteer Editor
Tim Greiser, Software Developer
Valerie Casey, Advisor