Our team of researchers have developed new tools, techniques, and theories to investigate the systems within arthropods
We apply the knowledge gained from natural systems to develop arthropod-inspired multifunctional and adaptive materials and interfaces.
The project focuses on how proboscis structure in hawk moths relates to biomechanics of feeding and explores the evolutionary forces responsible for miniaturization and gigantism of the proboscis.
More than 1460 species of hawk moths have evolved to exploit diverse fluid resources. Their proboscis ranges in length from a fraction of body length to more than twice body length, allowing hawk moths to feed from many species of flowering plants.
The morphological structure of the tubular proboscis facilitates passive, spontaneous fluid uptake. Coupling morphology and wetting and transport properties of proboscises with biomechanics and energetics of fluid uptake is expected to provide physical clues to the evolution and diversification of hawk moths.
We use unique materials characterization technologies and X-ray and high-speed microscopy of live moths, supported by theoretical modeling. Different applications to fiber-based microfluidics are under development.
The project focuses on unique mechanical properties of insect antennae supporting sensory systems and controlling movement and flight.
Insect antennae are complex multifunctional fibers with built-in sensing organs. Antennae quickly respond to minute external forces to control flight, maneuver and avoid obstacles and to hear. While the morphological properties of antennae are well documented, the materials properties of these organs are poorly understood.
Coupling morphology, mechanical and transport properties with the chemo and mechanoreception of antennae is enigmatic and calls for a thorough investigation. These challenges are especially important as the advanced technologies and materials demand new fibers with similar capabilities.
We study antennae of different insects developing unique materials characterization technologies allowing to work with live insects. Different applications to multi-functional fibrous materials are under development.
The project focuses on helping to design fast-working thickeners for vertebrate blood based on clotting principles of arthropods.
Blood clotting at wound sites is critical for preventing blood loss and invasion by microorganisms in multicellular animals, especially small arthropods vulnerable to dehydration.
The mechanistic reaction of the clot is the first step in providing scaffolding for the formation of new epithelial and cuticular tissue.
In arthropods, clot nucleation and transformation of viscous blood into a visco-elastic aggregate happens much faster than that in vertebrates.
These studies can help design fast-working thickeners for vertebrate blood, including human blood, based on clotting principles of arthropod blood.
The research employs unique nanotechnology developed in the group, the Magnetic Rotational Spectroscopy with ferromagnetic nanorods.
The project femploys unique nanotechnology developed in the group, the Magnetic Rotational Spectroscopy with ferromagnetic nanorods.
Magnetic rotational spectroscopy is a microrheological technique that requires nanoliters sample for testing and is non-destructive technique allowing to evaluate the viscous torque of the order 10-17 N*m.
The designed magnetic stage can be placed under an upright microscope. Applying a homogeneous magnetic field generated by the coils and forcing the nanorod to rotate at different rates of revolution, one scans over a range of applied rotation frequencies to see how the nanorod responds.
The developed image processing protocol allows one to track individual nanorods and to observe the transition from synchronous to asynchronous rotation. This transition frequency is accurately detected. The model then relates this transition frequency with the viscous properties of the probed fluid.