Skip to content


Meet the Problem-Solvers at Lichen Labs 

With the combination of microscopy, biomimicry, and materials expertise, working with Lichen Labs means you’re in the right hands to solve your biggest problems. Using the core of nature as the guide, we help our clients solve the most vexing problems.

With Nature as Our Guide

Our vision is a future where interacting with nature and utilizing the biomimicry thinking process is integrated into the research process of scientists and engineers, and the curriculum of all school-age children.

Who We Serve:

  • Scientists
  • Engineers
  • Universities
  • Science Teachers 

Meet the Lichen Labs Team

Meet the passionate problem-solver and award-winning researcher behind Lichen Labs. After 32 years at a major corporation, Sue Okerstrom was called to start her own business utilizing biomimicry. Now she’s able to help companies across the world use nature, science engineering, and design to develop products.

  • President & Lead Researcher at Lichen Labs
  • M.S. Biomimicry from Arizona State
  • M.S. in Materials Science and Engineering from the University of Minnesota
  • B.S. in Environmental Studies and a Minor in Chemistry from Bemidji State University


Sue Okerstrom

First Master of Science in Biomimicry

Sue is one of the first 20 people in the world to receive an MS in Biomimicry from Arizona State University, in conjunction with a Professional Certificate in Biomimicry from Biomimicry 3.8 Institute, graduating in November 2015.

Sue has performed and directed failure analysis, microscopy and mechanical / metallurgical testing for over 25 years at Medtronic Inc.  She was a Senior Principal Scientist and Manager of a materials analysis laboratory supporting research and development. 

Award-Winning Researcher

She won Medtronic’s Star of Excellence Award recognizing extraordinary job performance and an unwavering commitment to the highest quality in products, processes, and services. In 2006, Sue was named as Technical Fellow, one of 95 Technical Fellows recognized for technical expertise both inside and outside of the company of 30,000 employees worldwide.

Unwavering Passion

Biomimicry combines all that Sue loves; nature, science, engineering, art, and so much more. Sue is a past President of the Minnesota Microscopy Society.  She has authored numerous technical papers in microscopy and materials science and looks forward to writing more as her business grows.

“I have been associated with Lichen Labs since their inception. The lab has provided me with scanning electron microscope (SEM) surface topography images of worn tilting disc heart valve components. These images were used in support of successful FDA and EU regulatory submissions.

Upon the analysis other heart valves, Lichen Labs performed an energy dispersive x-ray spectroscopy (EDS) chemical microanalysis that identified contamination in the in vitro testing procedure being performed by another lab.

I participated in the receipt of the first purchase order Lichen Labs received at their start up and have found their work to be accurate, competent, and timely during my association with them.

Lenny Leuer
Medtronic Technical Fellow Retired

Connect with Lichen Labs

If you’re ready to take the next step to work together, we encourage you to book a Discovery call or fill out our contact form. During this Discovery phase, we can learn more about you and what you’re looking to achieve.