Foston, Zhang to use mussel feet as inspiration for underwater adhesives

Marcus Foston, an associate professor of energy, environmental and chemical engineering at the McKelvey School of Engineering at Washington University in St. Louis, is one of 20 awardees selected by the Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory (EMSL) for this year’s exploratory call.

EMSL is a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science national user facility that supports scientific discovery designed to understand complex biological and environmental systems for sustainable solutions to the nation’s energy and environmental challenges.

Foston and Zhang will use EMSL’s liquid helium cryogenic transmission electron microscope to study biological samples at high resolution. (Photo courtesy of EMSL)

With EMSL’s support, Foston and his collaborator, Fuzhong Zhang, a professor of energy, environmental and chemical engineering at McKelvey Engineering, will develop an understanding of how to redesign and recombine proteins based on protein sequences found in mussel feet. Borrowing mussels’ unique ability to stick to just about anything, even when fully submerged in water, the team aims to produce hydrogels with enhanced properties engineered for applications that require underwater adhesives, such as boat repair or surgical glue.

Read more on the McKelvey School of Engineering website.

Leave a Comment

Comments and respectful dialogue are encouraged, but content will be moderated. Please, no personal attacks, obscenity or profanity, selling of commercial products, or endorsements of political candidates or positions. We reserve the right to remove any inappropriate comments. We also cannot address individual medical concerns or provide medical advice in this forum.