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Langer Group Creates Gecko-Inspired Bandage


Professor Bob Langer and his colleage Jeff KarpLed by Professor Bob Langer and his colleage Jeff Karp, a team of MIT ChemEresearchers and colleagues have created a waterproof adhesive bandage inspired by gecko lizards that may soon join sutures and staples as a basic operating room tool for patching up surgical wounds or internal injuries. Drawing on some of the principles that make gecko feet unique, the surface of the bandage has the same kind of nanoscale hills and valleys that allow the lizards to cling to walls and ceilings. Layered over this landscape is a thin coating of glue that helps the bandage stick in wet environments, such as to heart, bladder or lung tissue.


And because the bandage isbiodegradable, it dissolves over time and does not have to be removed. The work is described in the Feb. 11 online issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Other MIT authors of the paper are co-first authors Alborz Mahdavi, a former MIT lab technician now at the California Institute of Technology; Lino Ferreira, a former MIT postdoctoral fellow now at the University of Coimbra, Portugal; Jason W. Nichol and Edwin P. Chan, HST postdoctoral fellows; David J.D. Carter and Jeff Borenstein of Draper Laboratory; HST doctoral student Chris Bettinger; and MIT graduate students Siamrut Patanavanich, Loice Chignozha, Eli B. Joseph, Alex Galakatos and Seungpyo Hong, all from the Department of Chemical Engineering. Additional authors are from Massachusetts General Hospital and the University of Basel, Switzerland.


The work was funded by the National Institutes of Health, the Materials Research Science and Engineering Center (MRSEC) program of the National Science Foundation, and the MIT-Portugal program.


For the full MIT News article, go to


Media Coverage

Gecko Tech, by Dan Smith, April 4, 2008


Geckos' feet inspire new high-tech bandage, by Ann Kelan, March 13, 2008, includes video report by Miles O'Brien 
"Scientists at Massachusetts Institute of Technology say they have created a new kind of surgical adhesive, formed in a shape that, at the microscopic level, mimics the feet of geckos."


Inspired by geckos, Brookline resident hopes to replace, augment sutures
Brookline Tab, MA, by Jessica Scarpati, March 12, 2008


Team Makes Gecko-Inspired Adhesive Bandage -Biodegradeable Bandage Could Be Used in Surgeries and Wound Repair
ABC News, by Julie Steenhuysen, Reuters, 02/18/2008


Gecko's 'sticky' feet inspire new type of bandage, by Sheryl Ubelacker, Canadian Press, 02/19/2008
[appears on several Canadian news sites]


Gecko's Stickiness Inspires New Surgical Bandage, Corpus Christi, TX, by Steven Reinberg, HealthDay, 02/19/2008
[story found on 30 TV news web sites across the US]


Gecko-Tech Bandages
New York Post, by Reuters, 02/19/2008


Gecko feet inspire waterproof bandage
Mumbai Mirror, India, 02/20/2008


Gecko-inspired bandage made
Times of India, by Reuters, 02/20/2008


Gecko's Stickiness Inspires New Surgical Bandage
Washington Post, by Steven Reinberg, HealthDay News, February 19, 2008
"The bandage, which could close external wounds and mend internal injuries, has tiny "hills and valleys," similar to those found on the gecko's feet, a Harvard-MIT team reports." [widely reported]


Gecko inspires 'wonder' bandage
United Press International: Feb. 19, 2008


Gecko's Stickiness Inspires New Surgical Bandage, by HealthDay News, 02/19/2008


Team makes gecko-inspired adhesive bandage
Reuters, by Julie Steenhuysen, 02/18/2008


U.S. team makes gecko-inspired adhesive bandage
Reuters India, 02/18/2008


Gecko inspires internal bandage

BBC Online, 02/19/2008


Healed by a gecko: Bandage that mimics lizard's power to cling
Daily Mail, UK, by David Derbyshire, 02/19/2008


Gecko inspired waterproof adhesive bandage
Daily Telegraph, UK, by Roger Highfield, 02/18/2008


Gecko's 'sticky' feet inspire new type of adhesive bandage for surgery
Canada Press,, by Sheryl Ubelacker, 02/18/2008


Gecko's sticky secrets inspire new bandages - MIT researchers create 'internal Band-Aids' based on lizard toes
MSNBC, by JoNel Aleccia, 02/18/2008


MIT, Harvard researchers base bandages on geckos
Mass High Tech, 02/19/2008


Gecko's Stickiness Inspires New Surgical Bandage - It's waterproof, biodegradable and adheres much better than conventional sutures, researchers say
US News & World Report, by Steven Reinberg, HealthDay News, 02/19/2008


Gecko Grip Equals Better Band-Aid
Wired Science, by Brandon Keim, 02/19/2008 


Gecko-Inspired Medical Bandage Could Become Surgeon’s Duct Tape
Popular Mechanics, 02/18/2008


Team makes gecko-inspired adhesive bandage
Scientific American, by Reuters, 02/18/2008


Gecko Stitches
ScienCentral News by Jack Penland, 02/18/2008