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Learn systematically from history to predict and shape our future.

The Periodic Table of Life (PeTaL) is an open-source software initiative to enable moving from discovery through design using inspiration from natural systems and human achievement. Follow along with our work on our GitHub page.

BIDARA (Bio-Inspired Design and Research Assistant)

BIDARA is a ChatGPT-based chatbot that was instructed to help scientists and engineers understand, learn from, and emulate the strategies used by living things to create sustainable designs and technologies.

BIDARA can guide users through the Biomimicry Institute’s Design Process, a step-by-step method to propose biomimetic solutions to challenges. This process includes defining the problem, biologizing the challenge, discovering natural models, abstracting design strategies, and emulating nature’s lessons.

Try it out! or use BIDARA in your own ChatGPT sessions.

PeTal image

Project Team

Vik Shyam/ NASA Glenn Research Center – Principal Investigator

Brandon Ruffridge/ NASA Glenn Research Center –  Project Manager and Technical Lead

Herb Schilling/ NASA Glenn Research Center – Data Science Lead – Consultant, facilitator, alternate mentor

Paht Juangphanich/ NASA Glenn Research Center – Technical Support – Helps team members overcome any technical challenges they face. Background in propulsion system design.

Calvin Robinson/ NASA Glenn Research Center – Data Architect – Defines how the data will be stored, consumed, integrated and managed by different data entities and IT systems, as well as any applications using or processing that data in some way.


Timothy Peshek/ NASA GRC – In-space power, data analytics

Andrew Trunek/ NASA GRC – Materials and ISRU

Lopamudra Das/ NASA LaRC

Dr. Marjan Eggermont/ University of Calgary – Biomole

Dr. Jacquelyn Nagel/ James Madison University – Biomimicry Engineering Advisor – biosearch tool and thesaurus

Dr. Julian Vincent – trade-off articles to train clustering tool

Dr. Gavin Svenson/ Cleveland Museum of Natural History – collections

Andrew Howley/ AskNature

Ethan Smith/ AskNature

Doug Downey/ Allen Institute of AI – AI/ML Advisor

Alex Wolf/ na2ure

Hope Zimmerman/ Biomimicry Engineering Advisor

Colleen Unsworth/ Former NASA BIRD PhD Fellow/University of Akron and VINE coordinator

Alex Ralevski/ Data Scientist and Machine Learning Engineer

Student Interns and Contributors

Spring 2021 Interns and Contributors

PeTaL 0.4 Prototype

PeTaL 0.3 Prototype

PeTaL 0.2 Prototype

PeTaL 0.1 – R Prototype

Website, app and game development


Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE) under

NASA GRC Office of Education
Sally Ride Scholarship, SMD/NASA

PeTaL Publications


TitleAuthor(s)SourceTypeDateNTRS Link
PeTaL (Periodic Table of Life) and PhysiomimeticsShyam, Vikram, Friend, Lauren, Whiteaker, Brian, Bense, Nicholas, Dowdall, Jonathan, Boktor, Bishoy, Johny, Manju, Reyes, Isaias, Naser, Angeera, Sakhamuri, Nikhitha, Kravets, Victoria, Calvin, Alexandra, Gabus, Kaylee, Goodman, Delonte, Schilling, Herbert, Robinson, Calvin, Reid II , Robert Omar and Unsworth, ColleenSpecial Issue Advances in Biologically Inspired DesignJournal2019
Biocene 2018Shyam, VikramNASA/TM-2020-220482Technical Memorandum (TM)1-Mar-20NTRS

In Publication

TitleAuthor(s)SourceTypeDateNTRS Link
Clustering tool in PeTaLWhiteaker, Brian A., Shyam, VikramPresentationCOMING SOON

Suggestions for Future Work

  1. Using PeTaL with BLAST to find biological models using nucleotide sequences. PDF
  2. Measuring tools and apps for data gathering
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