Evolution and development of shark skin teeth inspired surface design for global CO2 reduction

Rory Cooper

Email: rcooper2@sheffield.ac.uk

Start Year: 2016, 1st cohort

Host University: The University of Sheffield

Department: Animal and Plant Sciences

Supervisors: Dr. Gareth Fraser (University of Sheffield), Dr. Mark Johnson (University of Liverpool), Dr. Zerina Johanson (Natural History Museum)  

Project CASE partner collaborator: Dr. Zerina Johanson 

Academic profile

Education: MBiolSci in Biology, 1st class Hons; University of Sheffield, 2011-2015

Skills and relevant qualifications: Molecular Techniques (e.g. in situ hybridization) and 3D image analysis

Work Experience: Research Technician studying the evolution and development of shark scales


ACCE PhD Research topic

Evolution and development of shark skin teeth inspired surface design for global CO2 reduction

Shark scales have evolved over 350 million years to facilitate a plethora of different functions. One such function is that they increase hydrodynamic efficiency during locomotion by reducing drag, thereby saving energy. The morphology and patterning of these animal’s scales help to achieve this trait, and I aim to uncover how these have evolved. Using a combination of molecular techniques such as in situ hybridization, small molecule gene inhibitions and immunohistochemistry, I will be able to unravel the genetic circuitry underlying such patterning. I also plan to use microCT scanning combined with advanced 3D image analysis software (such as Drishti and Avizo) to model how these scales interact with water flow to reduce turbulent flow. Ultimately, I hope to use 3D printing to create shark skin inspired surface design, that will have widespread energy saving applications, for example in aerospace and automotive industries. My project will help to expand our knowledge of the evolution and development of patterning in nature, and could also help contribute towards reducing global CO2 consumption.