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Episode 044: The Science of Slime

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Interviewer(s)

Art Woods, Marty Martin

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Interviewee(s)

Doug Fudge

Description

What’s the slimiest fish on Earth? Why are they so slimy? And can we leverage our understanding of slime to make better bioengineered materials?

In this episode we talk with Doug Fudge, an Associate Professor at Chapman University, about his research on hagfish slime. Over the past 20 years, Doug and his lab and collaborators have figured out how and why hagfish produce slime, how the slime’s remarkable properties emerge from its underlying chemistry, and whether the protein threads in slime can be used to make bio-inspired fabrics that are greener, better, and longer lasting.

A significant portion of Doug’s work has been published in Journal of Experimental Biology, including this 2005 paper on the composition and structure of hagfish slime and this 2006 paper testing a key hypothesis about how hagfish use slime to defend themselves from predators. Fudge’s lab published recent papers on how slime glands refill after they eject their slimy contents and how they chemically stabilize coiled threads inside the glands before they are ejected. Papers in other journals explore how slime threads can be used to make bio-inspired fabrics and how slime threads are constructed and mature inside slime glands.

Cover photo: Zintzen et al. 2011 (CC BY-SA 2.5)

This episode is sponsored by Journal of Experimental Biology. The journal is published by the Company of Biologists, a not-for-profit that has been supporting and inspiring the biological community since 1925. JEB is at the forefront of comparative physiology and biomechanics.

Date Published

6-2020

Language

eng

Length of Episode

59 minutes, 52 seconds

Digital File Format

audio/mp3

Document Type

Podcast

Episode 044: The Science of Slime

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