When it was discovered that the humble chiton, a member of the mollusc family, can produce minerals in its teeth strong enough to leave marks in rocks- the study of Biomineralisation was born.
The biomineral within chiton teeth is a magnetite similar to the mineral that gives loadstones their magnetic power. But what intrigued scientists is that the magnetite of chiton teeth is tougher than that of geologically formed magnetite despite being essentially the same material.
In this lecture, Associate Professor McGrath will be highlighting the minerals produced by living organisms for the past 550 million years and how close we are to reproducing these materials for use in everything from wound care to engineering.
Associate Professor Kathryn McGrath is a Principal Investigator at the MacDiarmid Institute in the School of Chemical and Physical Sciences at Victoria University of Wellington where she and her team are studying complex fluids and soft matter. She has made important new fundamental discoveries especially in emulsion research where she has managed to characterise a new class of emulsion behaviours using a wide range of physical techniques. Kathryn is considered to be one of New Zealand’s leading young physical scientists and supervises a number of postgraduate students.
Date: Tuesday 19 April
Location: Hutton Theatre, Otago Museum