• Question: Has a certain example of biomimicry inspired in your scientific life?

    Asked by anon-258368 on 8 Jul 2020.
    • Photo: Tiffany Chan

      Tiffany Chan answered on 8 Jul 2020:

      Great question! Biomimicry is used all the time in drug design, with many people trying to artificially make compounds that are found in nature. We can also look at how certain proteins bind together through the use of crystal structures etc and try and design peptides (small proteins) that have the same shape and form similar types of interactions. For example, one of the projects that I worked on was trying to stop a protein-protein interaction that is often found in cancer from happening. Using the crystal structure of the proteins binding to one another, we tried to design artificial peptides that could bind in the binding pocket instead and block it. As a starting point, we took the ‘natural’ amino acid sequence of one of the proteins and then start tweaking the different chemical groups to create a better fit!

    • Photo: Heather Walton

      Heather Walton answered on 9 Jul 2020:

      I don’t think I have every specifically used biomimicry, but as chemists designing new molecules and processes we are always inspired by nature, we know that nature is a far better chemist that any of us! Nature can make more complex molecules more specifically without needing any of our special conditions, and is more efficient as well!