Dean Christine Ortiz studies ancient fish to create a new kind of human body armor

October 18, 2012

In a research laboratory at the vaunted Massachusetts Institute of Technology, a group of scientists, engineers and architects observes an ancient armored fish, known as polypterus, which has a completely flexible yet protective outer coat that changes shape in response to threats. Looking closely at its skin and scales, the group extrapolates design principles to help them create a new kind of human body armor that could protect soldiers at war, disaster area first-responders, even athletes. Across the room, another team of scientists studies the molecular structure of human cartilage in order to understand why people who suffer from osteoarthritis feel pain. They map out a detailed and microscopic snapshot of the disease, work that could one day lead to personalized medical treatments for arthritis patients. This may seem like the futuristic setting for a sci-fi thriller coming to your local multiplex, but it’s actually the real-life innovation incubator of Christine Ortiz,  professor of materials science and engineering at MIT, and Dean of the school’s prestigious graduate education program… Read the rest of the article on NBC Latino.

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