Inspired by Nature: The Thrilling New Science That Could Transform Medicine

Jeffrey Karp is at the forefront of a new generation of scientists using nature's blueprints to create breakthrough medical technologies. Can bioinspiration help to solve some of humanity's most urgent problems?

In the summer of 2005, Jeffrey Karp, a bioengineer at Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH) in Cambridge, Massachusetts, was working late one night when he spotted a journal article on a colleague's desk. What caught his eye was not the text itself, but the full-page colour illustration of SpiderMan that accompanied it. Intrigued, Karp sat down and started reading. 

The article detailed how a group of researchers had created a new synthetic material by mimicking the properties of gecko feet - whose tiny, hair-like pillars allow the lizard to stick to and detach from apparently sheer surfaces with ease. 

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