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New Hydrogels Mimic Body's Ability to Heal

New Hydrogels Mimic Body's Ability to Heal

Cut your finger chopping onions and you may wince (or cry), but with a little care, your wound will heal itself soon enough. Jacobs School bioengineers have invented a hydrogel that mimics this self-healing ability of biological tissue, opening up a wide range of applications including medical sutures, targeted drug delivery, self-healing plastics and industrial sealants.

The self-healing hydrogel binds in seconds, as easily as Velcro, and forms a bond strong enough to withstand repeated stretching, professor Shyni Varghese's research team reported recently in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. more »

Dream Design Develop

Dream Design Develop

“Engineering is not just an exercise in thinking about something. You do it. That's the critical thing. I would like to galvanize, motivate and encourage engineering students to take risks, develop products, and go into business for themselves,” said Irwin Zahn.

A new undergraduate incubator at the Jacobs School – the Moxie Center – will do just this, thanks to Irwin Zahn and his family who made a gift to create the Moxie Center through their Moxie Foundation. more »

Groundbreaking Tests for 5-Story Building on Shake Table

Groundbreaking Tests for 5-Story Building on Shake Table

Structural engineers at the Jacobs School have just completed an unprecedented series of major earthquake simulation tests to gauge the performance of nonstructural components in a building, such as working elevators, piping, air conditioning and fire barriers.

Researchers built a five-story building equipped with all these features, plus a surgery suite, an intensive care unit, computer servers and more. Then they put the structure through a series of high-intensity earthquake simulations on the world's largest outdoor shake table at the Englekirk Structural Engineering Center. more »

Repairing Heart Attack Damage

Repairing Heart Attack Damage

A new injectable hydrogel developed in the laboratory of bioengineering professor Karen Christman could be an effective and safe treatment for tissue damage caused by heart attacks.

The hydrogel would be a welcome development, according to Christman, since there are an estimated 785,000 new heart attack cases in the United States each year, with no established treatment for repairing the resulting damage to cardiac tissue. Christman's research, reported earlier this year in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, shows that the gel can be injected through a catheter, a method that is minimally invasive and does not require surgery or general anesthesia. Christman has co-founded a company, Ventrix, Inc., to bring the gel to clinical trials within the next year. more »

Arapaima vs. Piranha'

Arapaima vs. Piranha

In the dry season in the Amazon basin, big fleshy fish share extremely cramped watery quarters with hungry piranha – and their notorious guillotine-like bite. How does Brazil's massive Arapaima fish survive? The secret to Arapaima's success lies in its intricately designed scales, which could provide “bioinspiration” for engineers looking to develop flexible ceramics.

The inspiration to study the scales came from an expedition in the Amazon basin that materials science professor Marc Meyers took years ago. Meyers and colleagues found that Arapaima scales combine a heavily mineralized outer layer with an internal design that helps scales resist the piranha's razor-like bite. more »