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Prof. David Kisailus studies engineering and invention on the half-shell
Date:4/30/2008

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Other tanks hold animals for studies, while a series of separate small tanks host the crankier, more aggressive species or those with special dietary needs. The mother of all pump and filtration systems circulates and processes the water throughout, with total flow rates of nearly 10,000 gallons of seawater per hour, providing an environment like their natural habitat.

James Weaver, an invertebrate marine zoologist who works as a research associate with Kisailus, designed and built the elaborate tanks and filtration system, which includes a 6-foot-tall fluidized bioreactor. But to these researchers, the animals in the tanks are the true marvels in engineering. We just utilize nature as our platform for inspiration, Kisailus said.

Kisailus first became excited about materials science while doing research lab work as an undergraduate at Drexel University. After earning his masters degree in Materials Science at the University of Florida, Kisailus did his Ph.D. work at University of California, Santa Barbara, where he met Weaver as a fellow graduate student.

The two dreamed then of someday combining Weavers expertise in invertebrate zoology and Kisailuss in materials science. That dream has come true at UCR. We are now constantly bouncing ideas off each other again and it seems as if there will never be a shortage of novel ideas, Kisailus said.

In their teamwork, Weaver is the guy who brings in animals with unique features, while Kisailus is the guy with the beaker. James brings me knowledge of all these critters, Kisailus said, And I say, let's look at how the abalone grows its shell. Maybe we can use a similar strategy to modify a nanostructure in a solar cell to make them more efficient.

Sea urchins synthesize flexible ceramics and some marine sponges form fracture-resistant glass rods and fibers. We look at these mineralizing skeletal systems and adapt the lessons learned from their study for the synth
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Contact: Kris Lovekin
kris.lovekin@ucr.edu
951-827-2495
University of California - Riverside
Source:Eurekalert  

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