May 31, 2014

New Method of Wormlike Motion Lets Gels Wiggle through Water

A prestigious journal published a UC undergraduate’s research on hydrogels – a special substance that can be equipped to detect bacteria, carry cargo and deliver medicine.

Next time you spot an earthworm sliding through fresh dirt, take a closer look. What you’re seeing is an organic movement called peristaltic locomotion that has been meticulously refined by nature.

Jarod Gregory, an undergraduate student in the University of Cincinnati's College of Engineering and Applied Science, used a worm’s contracting and expanding motion to provide a way for gels to swim in water. This is a product of work by the interdisciplinary team consisting of Jarod Gregory, a chemical engineering major, and his two advisers, Lilit Yeghiazarian, assistant professor of environmental engineering, and Vasile Nistor, assistant professor of biomedical engineering.