Jellyfish Movement Inspires Reverse Engineering of Muscular Organs
July 24, 2012 8:43 AM
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The idea behind the research was to advance tissue engineering and gain a better understanding of how the heart pumps blood throughout the body
Harvard University and California Institute of Technology (Caltech) researchers have used the jellyfish as inspiration for the reverse engineering of muscular organs -- specifically the heart.
Kevin Kit Parker, study coauthor from the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, used silicone polymer and
living cardiac cells
to recreate the pumping method utilized by jellyfish. The idea behind the research was to advance tissue engineering and gain a better understanding of how the heart pumps blood throughout the body.
"It occurred to me in 2007 that we might have failed to understand the fundamental laws of muscular pumps," said Parker. "I started looking at marine organisms that pump to survive. Then I saw a jellyfish at the New England aquarium and I immediately noted both similarities and differences between how the jellyfish and the human heart pump."
With project "Medusoid" the researchers planned out the alignment of subcellular protein networks in all of the muscle cells, and then looked into the characteristics of jellyfish propulsion, including "electrophysiological triggering."
By using rat heart muscle tissue, the researchers were able to electrically stimulate the cells in a liquid environment. Silicone was then used to make a membrane that looks similar to a jellyfish. The rat heart muscle cells made up the subcellular, cellular and supracellular architecture of the jellyfish's muscles.
Then the complete reconstruction was put into salt water and electrical current was applied to shock it into swimming. The muscles contracted,
allowing it to pump
and swim like a real jellyfish.
This reverse engineering could one day be applied to the muscular organs in humans.
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Why is there no link...
7/24/2012 9:51:28 AM
To this incredible footage of the synthetic jellyfish!
There's also a link to the Nature article there.
RE: Why is there no link...
7/25/2012 7:31:36 AM
Here come the cylons...
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