Bio Eats World

Journal Club: From Insect Eyes to Nanomaterials

Judy Savitskaya and Lauren Richardson

Posted October 29, 2020

On this episode of the Bio Eats World Journal Club, a16z bio deal team partner Judy Savitskaya and host Lauren Richardson discuss a new article that makes the full arc from basic science discovery to application. The article — “Reverse and forward engineering of Drosophila corneal nanocoatings” by Mikhail Kryuchkov, Oleksii Bilousov, Jannis Lehmann, Manfred Fiebig & Vladimir L. Katanaev, published in Nature — and the conversation begin by discussing insect eye nanocoatings, which give eyes key properties like anti-reflectiveness and anti-adhesiveness. The authors show these nanocoatings are formed by a self-assembling mechanism known as a Turing Pattern. But why do we care about fly eye nanocoatings and their patterns? Why did Alan Turing spend his time studying the basis biological patterns? As we discuss, understanding this patterning revealed a new method for creating nanostructured materials, which today is a high tech and costly process. We cover the reverse and forward engineering these nanostructures, the beauty of Turing Patterns, and how one could build a startup around this nanostructure technology.

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Between the growing ability to engineer biology for therapeutics, and the integration of tech into how patients receive care, bio and health are fundamentally changing the world. Join the team at a16z and host Olivia Webb as they discuss these transformations with scientists, builders, and leaders.

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