Bioinspired materials - hagfish slime as biomimetic model
Hagfish secrete large amounts of a very dilute and cohesive slime when stressed or attacked. Hagfish slime forms within milliseconds and entraps up to 26’000 times its own weight in water, more than any other hydrogel.
Our research focuses on an in-depth characterization of hagfish slime. We aim to understand the structure-property relationships in hagfish slime to design of novel bioinspired materials.
Functional fiber nanomechanics
“Investigation of the structural and mechanical properties of hagfish slime fibers at the micro- and nano-scale.“
Hagfish secrete large amounts of a very dilute and cohesive slime as an immediate defense when stressed or attacked. The slime deploys within milliseconds and entraps up to 26’000 times its own weight in water. Unlike other mucous secretions, hagfish slime contains very long (up to 30cm), strong, and elastic protein fibers, which impart cohesiveness to the slime. The fibers are made of bundles of intermediate filament (IF) proteins. IF’s play a crucial role in the mechanical stability of many animal cells as they are a major cytoskeleton component. Although the fibers have mechanical properties similar to spider’s silk and offer a great source for the study of IF protein, comparably little research was performed with them.
We aim to characterize the mechanical properties of hagfish slime fibers on the microand nano-scale. A comprehensive understanding of the mechanics of IF proteins is of crucial importance for many research fields such as medicine, biology, and novel synthetic
- 2-3 trips to Norway (to get samples)
- interdisciplinary & cutting-edge science
- a sociable & culinary coffee break at 10am
- creative freedom
A highly motivated master student with affinity for soft bio-materials. You like science and fish.
01. Feb. 2016
Please contact me by mail if you are interested in the Master thesis. I will gladly tell you more about it over a coffee.
LFV E 23
Schmelzbergstrasse 78092 Zürich