MAR 31, 2018 03:29 PM PDT

Heart Cells in a Gel Change Color with Every Beat

WRITTEN BY: Carmen Leitch

Nature can produce incredible displays of color, and we can draw inspiration from them for all sorts of things. Scientists have been inspired by structural proteins that are critical to the brilliant pigments of some animals, like peacocks and butterflies. They created a gel that contains beating heart cells that change the gel's colors as they move.

The scientists used nanoparticles that mimic the crystals of a chameleon's skin; they can absorb some wavelengths and reflect others. When the distance between crystals changes, different wavelengths get reflected. The gel is similar; it has pores that act to absorb some wavelengths and reflect others. Live cells were grown onto the gel, and as they beat, the gel changed shape and color.

The gel was then used to make several things, including a butterfly that could change colors when it moved and a system that could be used to assess the effects of drugs. New medications might be screened on such a biohybrid gel, in which it would be easy to see if the beat frequency had increased.
About the Author
  • Experienced research scientist and technical expert with authorships on 28 peer-reviewed publications, traveler to over 60 countries, published photographer and internationally-exhibited painter, volunteer trained in disaster-response, CPR and DV counseling.
You May Also Like
NOV 13, 2019
Videos
NOV 13, 2019
The Difference Between Marijuana and Hemp
What's the difference between Marijuana and Hemp? Watch the video below to find out exactly how they differ. Both hemp and marijuana belong to the same...
NOV 13, 2019
Chemistry & Physics
NOV 13, 2019
Ultra-dark Material Constructed with Carbon Nanotubes
The reason why we can "see" is because when light rays strike an object, a portion of them get reflected at its surface and enter into our eyes....
NOV 13, 2019
Chemistry & Physics
NOV 13, 2019
What do a Wing Nut and a Tennis Racket Have in Common?
In 1985 during a mission to rescue the space station Salyut-7, Soviet astronaut Vladimir Dzhanibekov observed something rather strange. A free-flowing wing...
NOV 13, 2019
Cardiology
NOV 13, 2019
Protein Build-Up Places Heart at Risk
Amyloidosis is a disease caused by protein buildup in the body. These abnormal proteins, called amyloids, are produced in the bone marrow. Multiple types o...
NOV 13, 2019
Earth & The Environment
NOV 13, 2019
Pesticides Plague Great Barrier Reef Waterways
Based on parameters set by the Australian and Queensland Governments, a significant pesticide reduction target for waters entering for the Great Barrier Re...
NOV 13, 2019
Space & Astronomy
NOV 13, 2019
SpaceX Puts Another 60 Starlink Satellites Into Orbit
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket that stood tall and proud at the launch pad at Florida’s Cape Canaveral Air Force Station ignited its engines and lofted a g...
Loading Comments...