Sarah McInerney


The J. M. Smucker Company

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I grew up in Co. Clare in the west coast of Ireland stinting from a childhood immersed in outdoor activity and sport I went on to get an undergraduate degree in Zoology from the National University of Ireland, Galway. I continued on to get my masters degree in highschool Math and Science education graduating in 2014. I spent the next few years as an educational professional in a diverse array of settings from highschool to conservation education environments. Beginning in January 2017 I began the Biomimicry PhD fellowship program at the University of Akron sponsored by The JM Smucker Company to pursue my passion for conservation and environmental sustainability through the innovative potential of bio inspired design.

PhD Projects

Training Development for Corporate: Introduction to Biomimicry Class
Jan 2018 - Current

This class is segmented into three sections governed by three leading questions; What is Biomimicry? What is the Biomimicry Process? How is this process applied to a design challenge? Through these questions’ participants get exposure to terminology and background of the field and through ample case studies get the opportunity to explore and apply the biomimicry design process. The class concludes with participants presenting their bioinspired design solutions to the technical challenge presented.

Process Development: Ideation Sessions
Jan 2018 - Current

Leading R&D product development teams through a bio inspired design process from problem definition through biological model search to ideation and concept generation. This process is divided into three separate 3hr sessions; define, explore and ideate. The objectives of these sessions are to enable practitioners to apply bio inspired design to a technical challenge relevant to their work and maximize concept generation with the hope of product development. Sessions have been held both on site within a corporate environment and off site in an informal biological setting such as the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo.

Select Papers and Presentations

E2BMO: Facilitating User Interaction with a BioMimetic Ontology via Semantic Translation and Interface Design

Here, we propose a solution through a computer-aided user interface tool which integrates a biomimetic ontology with a thesaurus-based functional approach to biomimicry. Through a proof of concept illustrative case study, we demonstrate how merging existing tools can facilitate the biomimicry process in a systematic and collaborative way, broadening solution discovery.

Industrial Research Institute Presentation Title: "Biomimicry at The University of Akron" Bio-inspired Design Track Breakout Session; 40 attendees.
Oct 4th 2017
Fort Worth Texas

Through this break out session several speakers gave their perspective of the Biomimicry Fellowship Program at the University of Akron. Dr Emily Kennedy outlined the concept of Biomimicry through case studies and gave an overview of the fellowship program. Mr Dan Dietz of The JM Smucker Company gave his perspective as a new corporate sponsor, I gave my perspective as a new biomimicry fellow and Mr Tom Marting of GOJO Industries gave his perspective as a past sponsor.

Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology 2019 Annual Meeting. Sunday, Jan. 6 08:15 - 08:30 The Effects of Crocodilian Tail Serrations on Surface Water Disturbance UNSWORTH, CK*; TARCHICK, MJ; MCINERNEY, SJ; ASTLEY, HC; University of Akron
Jan 6th 2019
Tampa, Florida

We hypothesize that serrations disrupt large-scale flow structures from tail movements and correspondingly reduce visible surface disturbance. To test this hypothesis, we translated 3-D printed serrated and non-serrated panels directly under the water surface with a linear actuator, waves were visualized by recording the reflection of a fan-beam laser on the water surface, a waveform was extracted, filtered, and processed using Continuous Wavelet Transform (CWT). In our preliminary analyses a 27% decrease in magnitude of power from the control to the serrated panel were observed indicating that serrations did reduce visible surface disturbance. Understanding the effects of serrations on fluid flow could contribute to bio-inspired noise or turbulence reducing engineered systems, while using CWT to characterize surface disturbance creates a unique framework to study interface dynamics in a three-phase system.