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WUCF TV’s SciTech Central explores shark skin-like surfaces

Posted by Jennifer Cook on

More than a decade ago, a Florida scientist embarked on research for the U.S. Navy that was intended to make the hulls of warships more efficient.  Today, what he discovered is being used to make hospitals cleaner and safer.

 “I was doing some evaluations for the office of naval research I came across this idea of the sharks,” said Dr. Anthony Brennan, professor at the University of Florida.  “The little nurse sharks don’t get barnacles on them, but a ship sitting in a harbor at a dock will have that same current, and they get barnacles.”

It’s called Skarklet – a material modeled after the complex microscopic pattern found on the skin of sharks.   Explore Brennan’s research that shows the texture provides a dynamic and unstable environment for many organisms - not just barnacles.

Then, go inside a University of Central Florida biology lab where Dr. Ken Fedorka is researching insect immune systems.

SciTech Central then explores the lives of grizzly bears.  The animals fatten up every fall in preparation for their annual hibernation.  But unlike people, they don’t appear to suffer health consequences from their obese condition.  Now, scientists want to understand why, in hopes that it could lead to therapies for human obesity and diabetes.

And finally, researchers investigate whether crows, like humans, mourn when one of their own dies. Sophisticated brain scans could help unlock the mystery.

This episode of SciTech Central airs this Thursday, May 21st at 8:30 p.m. on WUCF TV.

Click here to learn more about SciTech Central.