From Bioinspiration to Innovation

When developing technologies to solve medical problems, often one encounters significant hurdles, that at times seem insurmountable. Overcoming these hurdles requires new ways of thinking. One approach is to turn to nature for inspiration. It’s this idea that every plant, every animal, every living creature that exists today is here because it tackled a credible number of challenges. Millions and millions of years of research and development at our fingertips, and all we need to do is look outside to the amazing creatures that inhabit our planet. This talk will explore medical technologies being developed that harness lessons from nature for inspiration, from creatures such as geckos, spider webs, jellyfish, porcupine quills, snails, to spiny headed worms. Some of the technologies that will be described are rapidly advancing to the clinic and some are already on the market helping patients.

Dr. Jeff karpKarp is an Associate Professor at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School, and is Principal Faculty at the Harvard Stem Cell Institute and affiliate faculty at MIT through the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology. His research harnesses materials science and stem cell biology to solve medical problems with emphasis on nanoscale/microscale materials and bio-inspired approaches. He has published more than 100 peer-reviewed papers and book chapters and has given over 140 national and international invited lectures and has 50 issued or pending patents.