As a regional network of the Biomimicry Institute, our mission is to empower the San Diego region, through education and community engagement to learn, discover and emulate Life's design to solve humanity's greatest challenges.


Biomimicry is the practice of learning from and emulating Life’s genius to create more efficient, elegant, and sustainable designs. It is a problem-solving method, a sustainability ethos, an innovation approach, a change movement, and a new way of viewing and valuing nature.

Biomimicry San Diego is dedicated to reconnecting people with nature, and aligning human systems with biological systems. Our vision bring together a widespread spectrum of innovation where human and biological system designs flow together seamlessly. 

Our team offers education and consulting to apply biological insights to systematic sustainability challenges. Our collaborative partnerships and services support interdisciplinary dialogue across industry sectors and regions, while re-connecting all of us to the local ecosystem that supports us.

Biomimicry San Diego consults Life’s genius through a clear, proven design thinking methodology developed by Biomimicry 3.8 over more than a decade. We work with policymakers, businesses, investors, educators, engineers, architects, designers, and of course, biologists, to translate nature’s genius into products, processes, and systems conducive to a better Life for every species that call San Diego region home - (including ourselves) .



Team Biography


Jacques Edouard Chirazi

Master in Biomimicry, Certified Biomimicry Professional, Founder 

Jacques focus is creating economic growth while fostering sustainability, in part by bridging cleantech with biomimicry. To that aim, he develops and supports a clean technology cluster in San Diego while collaborating across a diverse range of private, public, and non-profit sector groups. His long term vision is to create new business models and financial instruments to accelerate the commercialization of biomimetic solutions. 

Jacques has managed the California City of San Diego’s Clean Technology Program since 2007. He served six years as Senior Project Manager at Bainbridge Inc., a strategic management consulting firm for Fortune 500 companies. He currently teaches sustainability and clean technology to business students at the University of California, San Diego and San Diego State University. He holds a Masters from UCSD Graduate School of International Relations & Pacific Studies in International Environmental Policy and a BA in Marketing from SDSU. Jacques is a certified Energy Manager (C.E.M.), Renewable Energy Professional (R.E.P.), and LEED-GA.


Nan Woodman

Master in Biomimicry, Certified Biomimicry Professional, Naturalist

Nan is a naturalist, designer, artist, creative thinker, and entrepreneur. She is an author/illustrator for National Geographic Trade and Schoolbook divisions, and a team member on numerous scientific expeditions. Nan provides biomimicry consulting for Fortune 500 companies, and is a contracted Biologist at the Design Table for Biomimicry 3.8. A co-developer of the powerful Biominga Toolkit for Accelerated Innovation, Nan leverages deep strengths in innovative ideation, biology, and strategic thinking. She has given over 700 presentations, in the US and internationally, including a keynote address at Chicago Academy of Sciences, and was a biomimicry co-presentor at Bioneers on Whidbey Island. She is a sustainability consultant for schools and is certified in permaculture and low-impact development. Her passionate and knowledgeable education and innovation workshops connect with audiences on every level. Nan holds a BA from University of Illinois (Design & Communications), and attended The School of the Chicago Art Institute and IIT (Illinois Institute of Technology) for Masters work. She is a certified Low Impact Development Contractor/Consultant (Washington State University), Permaculture Design Consultant, and a graduate of the Biomimicry Professional Program.


Dr. Tamsin Woolley-Barker

Master in Biomimicry, Certified Biomimicry Professional, Evolutionary Biologist and Author

Dr. Tamsin Woolley-Barker is an Evolutionary Biologist and Biomimicry consultant, and the author of TEEMING: How Superorganisms Work to Build Infinite Wealth in a Finite World. Tamsin has served as an independent Biologist at the Design Table for nearly a decade, working with organizations like Biomimicry 3.8 and the Biomimicry Institute to provide biologically inspired innovation to a Global 500 clientele, and writes extensively for magazines like GreenBiz and Triple Pundit. Her regular column, ‘The Biomimicry Manual’ appears on She has served as Biological Strategy Editor for AskNature, and is an active and inaugural contributor at AskingNature, the Biomimicry Institute’s blog. She is currently an Adjunct Professor at Arizona State University’s new Biomimicry Center in the School of Life Sciences, and offers speaking engagements, workshops, corporate consulting, and content on biologically-inspired organizational design, product development, and leadership through her company, BioInspired Ink.


Lauren Linsmayer

Ph.D CandidateScripps Institution of Oceanography, UCSD, Marine Biologist

Lauren's research focuses on the effects of ocean acidification on coral physiology, in order to build models for predicting coral reef health under future acidification. Her commitment to applying innovative, research-based solutions to environmental problems developed while earning her BS and MS at Stanford University's interdisciplinary earth sciences program. At SIO, Lauren is actively involved in interdisciplinary science outreach. She and a group of climate scientists, biologists, ecologists, and political scientists at UCSD founded an organization called Ocean Scientists for Informed Policy (, whose aim is to communicate climate science effectively to the public and policymakers.

Leon Wang

Certified Biomimicry Professional Candidate

Leon works as a Biomimicry Storyteller to help share biomimicry and its inspiring stories with the world through long-form storytelling and contributions to a broader social engagement strategy. His communications showcase biomimicry innovations, projects, and design or research teams, and can be seen published on, The Biomimicry Center’s website and appropriate social channels.
Leon is a student in the inaugural class of ASU’s Biomimicry Masters Program. He graduated from the University of California, San Diego in 2015 with a B.S. in Bioengineering and a minor in environmental studies. While at UCSD, he worked in McKittrick's Lab, focusing on bio-inspired research, specifically flexible robotics inspired by seahorse tail and composite materials that mimic bone and nacre. He has also been involved in many biomimicry projects and initiatives. In AskNature’s pilot program, he contributed content as a biological curator and helped improve the tool and community. He also volunteered at the Centre for Bioinspiration at San Diego Zoo Global to collect and decipher engineering-to-biology ontology research. He continues to stay involved by writing biomimicry finance reports and case studies for the Biomimicry Business Intelligence initiative. Leon aims to apply his knowledge and skill-set  to develop innovative and sustainable solutions to our most pressing global challenges. He will continue to spread the knowledge and inspiration of biomimicry wherever he goes. 


Dr. Puja Batra

Ph.D. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

Puja Batra, Ph.D. is an ecologist who uses integrated approaches to solve problems of sustainable development, bringing together science, markets, policy, and innovation to stem the loss of healthy ecosystems.  She has worked in several countries across three continents with a work portfolio that cuts across some of the planet’s most urgent and interrelated issues: biodiversity loss, natural resource degradation, local economies, food security, and climate change.  She became involved in biomimicry through a Biologist at the Design Table course in 2007, and has since incorporated it into her portfolio of problem solving tools and design thinking.  Puja holds a Ph.D. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from Michigan State University, and a B.A. in Biology from University of Texas.

Patricia Fernandez-Waid

Master in Marine Environment and Resources

Patricia is a master’s student studying marine environment and resources in a joint European university program led by the University of the Basque Country in Spain. She completed her bachelor’s degree in marine biology at UC San Diego while interning at Scripps Institution of Oceanography in bioacoustics and shark electrophysiology labs. Her passion for the ocean stems from a young age growing up on the desolate beaches of Baja California. She also has a particular affinity for education and public speaking, and feels strongly about its importance in encouraging communities to admire and conserve their environment. Recently she developed an interest in combining marine biology and engineering. Her master’s thesis involves studying Mako shark dermal denticle morphology for hydrodynamic purposes, principally for its application to ships to lower fuel expenditure.

Her current program involves studying and attending conferences at various universities throughout Europe, allowing for the opportunity to share ideas and connect with professionals from around the globe. She strongly believes that studying the marine environment and its functional (and sustainable) application to our everyday lives is vital for the future!


Jamie Hoff

Bachelor in Business Administration, Energy Auditor

I am a business professional focused on creating sustainable solutions for manmade problems. In 2014, I founded a healthcare consulting company aimed to solve a significant issue existing in medical centers around the nation. We provided our clients with a customizable solution to properly segregate and dispose of medical waste that is produced daily in their clinics. Our sustainable solution not only solved the problem, but it achieved environmental stewardship in doing so.

I am currently progressing with my next business venture focused on advancing our quality of life through the improvement of indoor environments. This is quite the gear shift from my previous venture so I've spent the last several months actively seeking educational and research opportunities to better familiarize myself with the field   

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Dr. Bor-Kai Hsiung

Certified Biomimicry Specialist, Ph.D. in Integrated Bioscience, Postdoctoral Scholar at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego

Bor-Kai (Bill) is among the first cohort who recently received their Ph.D. degree from the Biomimicry Fellowship Program at the Biomimicry Research and Innovation Center, The University of Akron, Akron, Ohio. As a Biomimicry Fellow, Bor-Kai worked with many sponsor companies (including Fortune 500 companies) who participated in the program, bringing biomimicry into their R&D processes in the hope for igniting sustainably innovations within these companies. Currently, Bor-Kai is a postdoc in Dr. Deheyn’s lab at SIO, UC San Diego, working on a research project sponsored by DARPA to investigate whether or not organisms can communicate with each other via radio frequency without the use of human technology. Other than research, Bor-Kai also involves in two biomimicry startups and serves as the Chief Science Officer at Hedgemon, LLC. The mission of Hedgemon is to develop an impact-absorbing platform technology inspired by hedgehogs that could improve human lives. Bor-Kai is also passionate about disseminating science and biomimicry to the local communities and frequently participates in outreach events. His Ph.D. research investigated the color production mechanisms in spiders and their biomimicry potential has been recognized around the world – reported and shared among 23 different countries in 14 different languages, including BBC, National Geographic and The Atlantic, even got featured in an exhibition “Take a Nanooze Break” at EPCOT Walt Disney World, FL, USA.



Board of Advisors

Beth Brummitt

CEO, Brummitt Energy Associates


Beth founded Brummitt Energy Associates in 1998 to focus on high performance buildings. With over 25 years’ experience in energy efficiency and building modeling, she has been training and speaking on the Title 24 energy codes since 1992 and on green building since 2001. She is a graduate of Stanford University and former Chair of the California Association of Building Energy Consultants. Beth was also the founding President of the San Diego Chapter Green Building Council and currently co-Chairs the SD Living Building Collaborative. She helped SDG&E to develop the first Zero Net Energy Case Study for commercial buildings, and focuses on strategic energy planning to guide her clients through the energy performance planning process. Beth is a regular presenter in multiple venues on relevant topics such as: Green Improvements and Valuation, Pursuing Net Zero Energy, and Biomimicry, Living Buildings, and Successful Thinking.

Dr. Rosibel Ochoa

Associate Vice Chancellor, Technology Partnership, University of California Riverside


Rosibel has adapted the von Liebig Center model into a technology acceleration platform that can be leveraged by universities and research institutes. During her tenure she has secured more than $4 million federal, corporate, and foundation grants and contracts to support the deployment of commercialization programs focused on healthcare and clean technologies at Southern California universities. These efforts have resulted in the direct support of 75 technology teams. She is the Program Director for a recently awarded 3-year grant from the National Science Foundation to create an I-Corps site at UC San Diego (2013) and Co- Principal Investigator of My Startup XX (2011), a fellowship program for female engineering students interested in pursuing entrepreneurship. Rosibel has partnered with local entrepreneurs, service providers, The Founder Institute, and the American Chemical Society to expand the Center’s educational offerings beyond credit-bearing courses to include workshops and online seminars focused on lean startup, venture creation, and regulatory matters. More than 1000 students have participated in these programs. She has also worked with numerous international government agencies, including the Inter-American Development Bank, non-profit organizations, and universities to deliver internships, workshops, and training on technology transfer, proof of concept, and entrepreneurship in Japan, South Korea, Mexico, Central America, and Colombia. Prior to joining the von Liebig Center, she founded TekDome, LLC, a technology commercialization consultancy in San Diego. She spent four years at Georgia Tech, where she served as the Associate Director of the Office of Technology Licensing and the Manager of the Industrial Contracts Group. Previous employers include Motorola’s Energy Systems Group and MeadWestvaco where she worked as a Research Scientist and Licensing Manager in the development and commercialization of novel materials and products in the areas of energy storage and generation. Rosibel received her B.Sc. from the National University of Honduras, and her M.Sc. and Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Louisville.

Matthew Porreca

Associate Principle, BNIM


Matthew Porreca leads BNIM's practice in California. He is currently serving as a Board of Director for the San Diego Green Building Council. His leadership in high profile integrated design teams has allowed him to produce excellence in design and high performance buildings. Matthew served as the Project Architect for the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art Expansion and Renovation, named Time Magazine's "Building of the Year" in 2007. He is currently leading BNIM’s project team at UCLA’s campus for the UCLA Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science - WIN-GEM Building which looks to set a new benchmarks in sustainability for the UCLA campus. In San Diego Matthew is leading BNIM’s team on 2 new buildings within a transformative corporate campus for Qualcomm at the Pacific Center Campus.

Robert Thiele

Principal Architect, Robert Thiele Associates

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Robert has a full service residential / commercial design practice, specializing in small coastal infill development and green building design.  Robert is a previous Board Member of the San Diego Green Building Council (SDGBC) and serves on the local AIA, Committee On The Environment as a COTE Member.  He also serves on the AIA National Disaster Assistance Team providing Rapid Safety Assessments of Building Safety in earthquakes and other natural disasters with a focus on community resilience and infrastructure. He is a CAL/EMA Safety Assessment Program Volunteer, and was deployed to Calexico in response to the 2010 Easter Earthquake to make rapid assessments of building safety. He currently is pursuing passions around discovering living systems infrastructure, energy, water, and waste and how they relate to living buildings, through the San Diego Living Building Collaborative. Robert is a project-based learning advocate, and has worked on the SDGBC Green Assistance Program for the past 3 years bringing new projects to the program, including the San Diego Food Bank and Balboa Park Sustainable Water Projects.   

Luisa Schultz

Professor, New School of Architecture and Design (NSA+D)

Luisa is a full time professor at the NewSchool of Architecture and Design (NSA+D) and an international consultant addressing innovative sustainable design and planning technologies for companies located in the United States and abroad. She was the Director of the Middle Eastern Chapter of the AIA, from 2000 through 2003. She was the corporate facility engineer for Aramco Services, Oil Company, located in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia and Houston, Texas. She is an active member of the World Council Affairs, Habitat for Humanity, Builders without Borders, Urban Land Institute and the National Center for Sustainable Communities, and has made numerous contributions to emergency shelter design as a team leader in Armenia and the Philippines. She organizes NSA+D students’ participation in local and international competitions. Luisa was an external consultant to Saudi Aramco to define the sustainable building guidelines for KAUST campus, which lead to the first LEED certified building in the Kingdom. Her previous faculty appointments were at King Faisal University, Dhahran, Saudi Arabia and the Art Institute of California. Courses taught include urban studio, design studio, non-western architecture, freehand drawing and environmental sciences. In addition, she has worked in the architectural offices of Anderson DeBartolo and Pan, in Tucson, Arizona, and as a campus planner at the University of Arizona prior to engaging in environmental and planning work for the DOD at Twenty Nine Palms and Barstow, CA. She received a M. Arch and B. Arch degree from the University of Arizona. Her postgraduate studies include pursuing a doctorate in water resources management and build environments of new economies. Currently, she is working to complete a Sustainable Practices Program at UCSD.

Dr. Kevin Zhu

Professor of Innovation, Technology & Operation, UCSD


Kevin is an expert on technology innovation, management, commercialization and transfer, as well as how these are strategically formulated around a firm’s IP strategy. He received his doctoral degree from Stanford University, and worked in information technology and venture capital industries in Silicon Valley. He earned his tenure and full professorship in the University of California, San Diego. He is the recipient of the prestigious CAREER Award from the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF). He has served as expert judge for the European Commission, the NSF of the U.S, China, Canada, and Israel. Prior to that, he served as a principal investigator on many large research projects related to new technologies and their adoption, as well as editors of top academic journals in the field of technology management. His work in software, media, and telecomm industries has been well cited and earned several Best Paper Awards in the field. He is a consultant/advisor for many world-class companies, and advises important institutions such as California Institute of Telecom & Information Technology, the San Diego Supercomputer Center, and the Industry Innovation Alliance of Smart Appliances. He is a frequent speaker for universities, industry and governments.



Biomimicry 3.8 is the global leader in biomimicry innovation consulting, professional training, and educational program and curricula development. Our mission is to train, equip, and connect engineers, educators, architects, designers, business leaders, and other innovators to sustainably emulate nature’s 3.8 billion years of brilliant designs and strategies.

Over the past 14 years, our company has helped more than 250 clients and partners redesign carpets, furniture, manufacturing processes, airplanes, and even entire cities, all in nature’s sustainable image. In concert with our partners we have reached millions through talks and the media and have trained hundreds who now practice biomimicry in their professions.

The Biomimicry 3.8 Institute (our 501(c)3 not-for-profit arm) focuses on academic and public education, offering trainings, curricula, tools and resources for schools, universities, museums, zoos, nature centers, and other public forums. Our evolving offerings of workshops, online courses, and research tools include, the award-winning online library of nature’s design strategies and solutions.

The San Diego Green Building Council is a 501(C)3 environmental non-profit dedicated to providing education, outreach, and advocacy surrounding green building in  the San Diego community.  We are the San Diego Chapter of the US Green Building Council and are organized around our vision and mission

Ethical Markets’ mission is to foster the evolution of capitalism beyond current models based on materialism, maximizing self-interest and profit, competition and fear of scarcity. As we move further into the Information Age, we learn that information and knowledge are not scarce, and our economic models can move toward sharing, cooperating and a new abundance. We believe capitalism combined with humanity’s growing knowledge of the interdependence of all life on Planet Earth, can evolve to serve today’s new needs and our common future—-beyond maximizing profits for shareholders and management, to benefiting all stakeholders. We deliver this message to our global market by featuring stories of success.

The von Liebig Entrepreneurism Center at the UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering is dedicated to mentoring faculty and student inventors through the proof-of-concept process. The Center provides commercialization support to bridge the gap between exciting laboratory discoveries and products that address market needs. Our experienced technology and business advisors guide faculty and student inventors throughout the technology assessment, proof-of-concept and early stages of the commercialization process. Once technology feasibility is demonstrated, these innovators can attract the entrepreneurial talent and capital that they need to advance their technology toward the marketplace. The Center primarily serves the UC San Diego engineering and science community, but many of our programs extend to universities in the Southern California region and well beyond.

Global Energy Network Institute was founded in 1986 by Peter Meisen to investigate the idea of Dr. R. Buckminster Fuller, proposing a global electric energy grid as the number one priority to solve many of the world's most pressing problems. GENI's mission is to conduct research and to educate world leaders and the public about the critical viability of the interconnection of electric power networks between nations and continents, with an emphasis on tapping abundant renewable energy resources, what we call 'the GENI Initiative. Our research shows that linking renewables between all nations will mollify conflicts, grow economies and increase the quality of life and health for all. This is a strategy rooted in the highest priority of the World Game simulation developed by Dr. Buckminster Fuller three decade ago.

NewSchool’s core professional disciplines of architecture, construction management, digital media arts, and design are built on fundamental principles and a curriculum of contemporary hands-on philosophy. Through a balanced approach of art, science, theory, and practice, our enriching programs have shaped NewSchool into a design school that can help you unfold your artistic talent. To learn is to have passion, be curious, and investigate DESIGN IDEAS that are waiting to become reality.

The Biomimicry Institute was founded in 2006 by Janine Benyus and Bryony Schwan to share nature’s design lessons with the people who design and make our world. We began by working directly with educators from K-12, university, and non-formal (museums, zoos, aquariums) environments to naturalize biomimicry in the educational system, and ensure the next generation of changemakers had the tools to integrate biomimicry in their careers. Education is at our roots, and you can find lesson plans, classroom exercises, and educator training courses on our Biomimicry Education Network.

In 2008, we launched a free, online catalog of nature’s solutions to design challenges. This award-winning website, called AskNature, has helped students and practitioners around the globe look to nature for sustainable design inspiration and advice.



The San Diego Children and Nature Collaborative (SDCaN, or the Collaborative) was organized in January 2009 by individuals and educational,environmental, business, and community groups with shared concerns that todays children have fewer and fewer opportunities to experience nature. Over 60 organizations are working together to enhance opportunities for San Diego’s children to learn in nature and play outdoors, in their everyday lives!


Fab Lab San Diego is a non-profit community design and fabrication laboratory that empowers individuals to give form to their ideas. Fab Lab provides access to professional manufacturing equipment, including 3-D printers and laser cutters, as well as the education and creative community required to support San Diego's thriving community of Makers.Fab Lab is a founding tenant of Makers Quarter - a neighborhood of Artists, Entrepreneurs, and Dreamers located in San Diego's upper East Village.