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Phillip Messersmith’s Bio-inspired Medical Glue Featured on WBEZ’s Clever Apes

A mussel-inspired medical glue developed by McCormick professor Phillip Messersmith was featured today on WBEZ’s science show Clever Apes.

Messersmith, professor of biomedical engineering, materials science and engineering, and (by courtesy) chemical and biological engineering, explained the inspiration for his new medical adhesives: a bivalve that secretes an unique adhesive to stick itself to rocks or boats.

By mimicking these secretions, Messersmith creates synthetic adhesives that can attach or repair tissues in surgery, he explained. And unlike current adhesives, Messersmith’s are safer for humans.

“The most successful (current) mechanical adhesive, which is based upon the same sort of chemistry as in superglues, is actually toxic internally in humans,” he told host Gabriel Spitzer.

Listen to the Clever Apes podcast.