LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) - A University researcher is looking at the unique way marine biology is helping design, develop and create new biomedical materials.
Jonathan Wilker is a professor of chemistry and materials engineering at Purdue, and he’s slated to speak on “Biomaterials at the Beach: Learning How Marine Biology Makes Materials” at 6 p.m. Nov. 8 in the upstairs of Lafayette Brewing Company (622 Main St. in Lafayette).
The Purdue Department of Chemistry, School of Materials Engineering and Discovery Park are sponsoring the event, which is free and open to those 21 and older.
"The oceans are filled with a fascinating array of biological materials. The adhesives and cements of mussels, barnacles, oysters, starfish, limpets, sea weeds, tube worms, sea cucumbers and anemones are familiar to anyone who has ever explored a tide pool," Wilker said.
"We will discuss why these creatures make glues and what we are doing in the lab to understand the origin of such materials. As we learn the secrets of marine bioadhesives, we are using this information to design new synthetic materials."
Wilker has been at Purdue since 1999. He looks at the spectrum of materials made by nature (specifically in the oceans) to understand how such biological materials function, design synthetic mimics and develop applications for these materials.
Leading a lab that draws from biochemistry, inorganic chemistry, polymer chemistry, marine biology and materials engineering, Wilker points to how barnacles cement themselves to rocks, mussels attach to each other in communities and oysters aggregate to build reef structures.