In the Zernike Institute Advent Calendar, we are presenting 24 short spotlights in December. In these specials, we highlight PhD students, postdocs, and technicians of our research groups - providing a glimpse into their typical day at work. In Episode 17 meet Jianwu Sun.
I am a PhD student at University of Groningen in the group of Polymer Science. Our group develops versatile fantastic materials inspired by phenomena from nature. For example, sandcastle worms produce glue that sticks underwater; spider silk is tougher than Kevlar and more flexible than nylon. Hence, we try to understand the essential mechanisms by looking closely at the natural systems and imitating those principles. This is how we create new materials with interesting properties, such as a surgical glue that can adhere just as well as the glue of the sandcastle worm; strong protein fibers that comparable to natural dragline silk….
I am working on protein coacervate to develop artificial silk fibers. The most interesting part of my research is to learn from the natural spinning process: the transition of soluble separated protein molecules into viscous spinnable dope. This magic transition allows us to fabricate various biomaterials like 3D scaffolds for cell growth and surgical sutures. Just like our team members coming from different countries with different backgrounds, we work together and unite as one team to share our knowledge, to explore this amazing scientific world.
Contact: Jianwu Sun
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