Our Team

Meet the Patternfox Team

Michael Helms
Cognitive Science

Dr. Michael Helms is a Research Scientist at the Georgia Institute of Technology, and Co-founder of PatternFox Consulting. He received his Ph.D. in Computer Science from the Georgia Institute of Technology, where his research focused on improving design creativity. In addition to teaching biologically inspired design and cognitive science at Georgia Tech, Michael has over 40 peer-reviewed publications in the field of biologically inspired design.

Michael’s recent work focuses on understanding how existing biologically design methods can be applied in industrial settings to increase design innovation and better manage uncertainty.

Katie Mencke
Engineering and Sustainability

Katie Mencke believes that the future of technology lies largely in the inherent renewability of the natural world. A seasoned consultant to investment banks and manufacturing leaders, she excels at focusing research and translating information relevant to clients' needs.

Katie’s multi-disciplinary training in Engineering (MS IPST 2004) and Sustainability (MBA Bard 2015) make her well-suited for bio-inspiration, science, and design. She has two daughters who are constant reminders that life on earth doesn't stand still.

James Blumling
Bioengineering and Quantitative Analysis

James Blumling received his Ph.D. in Bioengineering from the University of California, San Diego, where his research comprised the investigation of micro- and nanotechnologies for central nervous system applications. His post-doctoral work includes lightweight and strong materials research for Jeannette Yen at the Center for Biologically Inspired Design (CBID) at the Georgia Institute of Technology.

James has been consulting in the field of BID since 2015, having worked on multiple projects with both CBID and the Kimberly Clark Corporation. As a consultant, James focuses on the fundamental principles behind biological solutions to product development issues. He mathematically models and analyzes promising natural strategies to assess the value of further research for industrial application.

Jeannette Yen
Professor of Oceanography

Jeannette Yen received her Ph.D. in Oceanography at the University of Washington in 1982. She received tenure at SUNY-Stony Brook in 1995 and was promoted to Full Professor in Biology at the Georgia Institute of Technology in 2002. In 2004, Dr. Yen was Chief Scientist on a twelve day oceanography research cruise to Antarctica. With the formation of the Center for Biologically Inspired Design, Jeannette became Director of CBID at Georgia Tech in 2005. Dr. Yen is an oceanographer working at the interface between animal behavior, fluid mechanics and environmental sciences.

Marc Weissburg
Professor of Evolutionary Biology

Marc Weissburg received a PhD from the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at SUNY Stony Brook in 1990, received tenure at the Georgia Institute of Technology in 2003, and became co-Director of the Center for Biologically Inspired Design in 2005. He has a long standing interest in comparative and interdisciplinary approaches that lead to understanding animal solutions. His research concerns the mechanisms of information acquisition for fluid mechanical and chemical signals by animals, and the consequences of perceptual abilities for populations and communities. This work merges sensory physiology, biology, ecology, fluid physics and chemistry.

Dr. Weissburg has substantial collaborations with engineers and chemists to both understand the structure of natural signals, and use principles derived from biological sensing strategies to enhance sensing techniques in human built systems. Work in these areas has been funded by the Office of Naval Research, the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency, the NSF Office of Polar Programs, and NSF programs in Oceanography and Sensory Systems. He teaches comparative physiology, ecology, a laboratory in fluid mechanics of organisms, and is director of the Research Experience for Undergraduates summer program in Aquatic Chemical Ecology at GA Tech.