Biology As A Source Of Excitable Media For Complex And Reconfigurable Hydrogels

Conference Dates

July 21-24, 2019


Background. Information theorists note the anticorrelation between genetic and morphological diversity (prokaryotes with the greatest genetic diversity display the least morphological diversity). Biologists note that a comparatively small set of component biopolymers (e.g., collagen, cellulose and chitin) are responsible for an enormous diversity in mesoscale structure. Both these information science and biological analyses emphasize the importance of “excitable” media: mesoscale structure emerges in response to the set of spatiotemporal cues that induce interactions among “excitable” components. We hypothesize that stimuli-responsive self-assembling biological polymers (i.e., excitable media) can be guided to form complex but reconfigurable hydrogel structures if the stimuli that cue their polymer-polymer interactions can be controllably imposed.

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