Yael Helfman Cohen

Yael uses inspiration from nature to solve the problems we face

Quick Facts
  • Age: 42
  • Field: Biomimicry
  • Lives in: Zichron Yaakov
  • Married with five children

My Research: Biomimicry: Imitating nature’s solutions to solve human challenges


Entrepreneurial Environment: I grew up in Haifa, surrounded by the Carmel Mountains, nature and an entrepreneurial atmosphere, which I absorbed at home as the daughter of an industrialist, an entrepreneur and a visionary who built factories in Israel. To this day, I feel that balancing personal and professional development along with family life and parenthood to be the greatest challenge in my life.


“Nature is a big library of design ideas and a source of knowledge and inspiration.”


A Library of Ideas: When I was first introduced to the field of biomimicry, I discovered that nature is a big library of design ideas, structures, materials and processes – it is a source of knowledge and inspiration. One example of this is the lotus leaf, which inspired the development of products with self-cleaning abilities and no need for detergents. At the time when I began learning about biomimicry, the field had only just emerged and there was very little information about it in Hebrew. I founded the Israeli Biomimicry Organization, and during my doctoral studies, I developed a design method that is based on nature’s structural patterns and allows engineers and designers to locate solutions in nature and to apply these solutions into design principles. They can then use the knowledge they acquire for technological applications in various facets of life.


World-Class: My vision is to establish a biomimetic research and teaching institute in Israel. I believe that in Israel, we have the required strengths to become world-class leaders in the field: Strong engineering, extensive knowledge in biology, environmental awareness and an entrepreneurial spirit.


Yael is a PhD student at the Porter School of Environmental Studies.


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