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Biological adhesives: from biology to biomimetics

Biological adhesives: from biology to biomimetics

This project aimed to identify the physicochemical characteristics of the cyprid adhesives that allow them to function so effectively underwater.

Project leader

Dr Patrick Flammang (University of Môns)

Dates

June 2010 - June 2014

Project staff

Dr Nick Aldred

Sponsors

European Science Foundation

Description

The network

COST Action TD 0906 is an interdisciplinary network of scientists. They are from more than 20 laboratories throughout Europe. They share a common interest in biological adhesion.

The Action funds and promotes cooperation between scientists from diverse academic fields as well as industry.

It aims to do the following:

  • Foster novel research directions
  • Facilitate technology transfer and fund small scoping projects between partner laboratories spanning terrestrial and aquatic systems from microorganisms to geckos
Research in Newcastle

Dr Nick Aldred is a core group and Managing Committee member of the Action.

He leads a working group coordinating research into structural and chemical characterisation of biological adhesives.

Dr Aldred’s principle research model is the cypris larva of barnacles. His ongoing research aims to identify the physicochemical characteristics of the cyprid adhesives. He focuses on the characteristics that allow them to function so effectively underwater.

The relevance

Energy security is headline news. Another fundamental consequence of dwindling hydrocarbon reserves is the growing need to feed production of synthetic materials by alternative means.

Bio-inspired materials are often overlooked. Biomimetic adhesives may reduce our dependence on hydrocarbons, toxic heavy metals and high-energy processes.

They provide new capabilities to hi-tech industries as diverse as micro-electronics and human surgery.

Our approach

Bioadhesives research epitomises interdisciplinary science.

The project is in collaboration with physical scientists from numerous international laboratories.

We apply cutting edge biophysical characterisation methods to these dynamic materials.

Our laboratories have a range of molecular techniques for the isolation, purification and analysis of bioadhesive proteins.