Unravelling the molecular mechanism of animal adhesive secretions to widen the horizons for new bio-inspired materials.

Project Details


Nature presents scientists an almost endless number of molecular systems and mechanisms yet to be understood. Through the slow but powerful process of evolution, animals have developed efficient solutions to core problems that science struggles to overcome. Over these millions of years, some species have developed the ability to produce adhesive secreted substances (which might be called "natural glues") used to either attach themselves to surfaces or immobilise prey. Since the moment of its discovery, scientists have
tried to understand how these adhesive material work and to develop mimicking material capable of doing the same. The advantage of such material would be their vast applicability in the fields of
medicine (for wound healing and microsurgery) and biotechnology (3D-printing of organic materials e.g. tissues, organs). Unfortunately, although limited information about the biochemical characteristics of adhesive secretions have been described for some species (with a particular focus on mussels), many still remain uncharacterised. Our goal is to analyse adhesives from three different species, in order to develop bio-inspired material for biotechnological applications.

Effective start/end date1/11/1931/10/21

Flemish discipline codes

  • Animal cell and molecular biology