Understanding the Origins of Bioadhesion in Marine Organisms
Curiosity is a powerful tool, and combined with the ability to observe the natural world, grants humankind an unique opportunity, the opportunity to wonder why. Why do things exist?, why do they do the things they do?, why is this even possible?
Research in our lab is focused on the basic understanding and potential application of biological materials, in particular, biological adhesives produced by marine organisms such as oysters. Oysters produce a cement-like material that is able to withstand the dynamic conditions found in coastal environments. The focus of this dissertation is to lay the basis of the characterization of new biological materials by observing and analyzing its physical properties, to measure the performance of the material in natural conditions and finally to identify the basic components that give the material the properties that we observe. The end goal of this project is to understand the properties of this material so we are able to develop a synthetic system that is able to imitate, as close as possible, what we find in nature. These results, and more importantly, the new questions that emerge from this research, provide a first look at the adhesive system of oysters leading the way to new discoveries in the future.