Concert Hall - Aarhus
19 - 21 June 2012
Dr. Henrik Birkedal
Henrik Birkedal obtained a PhD with distinction from University of Lausanne, Switzerland in 2000. After a post doc at the University of California, Santa Barbara USA he came to Aarhus University on a prestigious Steno Assistant Research Professor fellowship from the Danish Research Councils followed by a Skou Associate Research Professor fellowship after which he was awarded tenure. He now leads a research group of 11 persons working on biological and bioinspired materials including work on bone, underwater adhesion, crystallization mechanisms, and smart hydrogels.
Mussel inspired smart hydrogels
Hydrogels and underwater adhesives have widespread biomedical use for example in the wound care industry. However, current technologies are far from perfect. Therefore we have turned to the blue mussel for inspiration. The blue mussel attaches to substrates ranging from Teflon over wood to steel, and it does so underwater – features that are of great use in a wide range of technological applications. A central component of the adhesion system of the blue mussel is the amino acid DOPA. We have therefore designed polymers containing DOPA that by reaction with metal ions become hydrogels. The hydrogels have excellent mechanical properties and are self-healing, i.e. they repair themselves. They have great potential also for use as underwater adhesives.