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Research inspired by nature’s technologies

Associate Professor Henrik Birkedal has been interviewed by Weekendavisen on the potential of biomimicry and his progress in developing an innovative biodegradable superglue.

Associate Professor Henrik Birkedal develops biodegradable superglue inspired by nature’s solutions in blue mussels. (Photo: Lise Balsby, AU Photo)
Associate Professor Henrik Birkedal’s innovative materials are inspired by the ability of blue mussels to stick to almost anything under water. (Photo: Colourbox.com)

Biomimicry is the decoding of nature’s intelligent solutions and imitating these in solving technological challenges. In fact Associate Professor Henrik Birkedal at Interdisciplinary Nanoscience Center (iNANO) and Department of Chemistry, Aarhus University, is mimicking the glue produced by blue mussels, which it uses to attach its soft muscle tissue to surfaces. What is particularly interesting about this glue is that it gives the blue mussels the ability to stick to almost anything both in and out of water.

Birkedal has then created a promising synthetic glue by copying the composition of materials and processes involved in the mussels’ adhesive technique. The synthetic glue is biocompatible, where today’s glue for medical purposes is toxic. Consequently, Birkedal’s superglue holds great potential for application e.g. in stopping bleeding during surgery or as a glue inside the body.

Associate Professor Henrik Birkedal contributed with his experience in creating nature-inspired technological solutions in the newspaper article in Weekendavisen, which you can read here (requires subscription): https://www.weekendavisen.dk/2018-33/ideer/efter-naturens-opskrift

Latest scientific article on the subject from Birkedal’s research group by Amanda Andersen, Marie Krogsgaard, and Henrik Birkedal (2018): Mussel-Inspired Self-Healing Double-Cross-Linked Hydrogels by Controlled Combination of Metal Coordination and Covalent Cross-Linking

For further information, contact

Associate Professor Henrik Birkedal

Interdisciplinary Nanoscience Center and Department of Chemistry

Aarhus University

Email: hbirkedal@chem.au.dk

Phone: 45-87 15 66 56