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A primary cilium is presented as a meso-scale device that senses and translates extracellular information into intracellular biochemical reactions. These input cues manifest in a variety of forms ranging from chemical to mechanical ones. Deregulation of these information transfer leads to human diseases known as ciliopathies. Due to its diffraction-limited dimension and semi-membrane-bound topology, a primary cilium has been a daunting compartment to visualize and manipulate signaling events on site.
Nature-inspired solutions have spawned such products as potential cancer cures from animal and plants, novel antibiotics, and gecko-inspired adhesives. This “bio-inspired” approach applies integrative methods from anatomy, animal function, evolution, and biomechanics to inspire novel synthetic materials. Further, new methods for visualizing animals has opened new doors into understanding the diversity of life. This lecture will discuss how studies of gecko form and functions have contributed to a broader understanding of bio-inspiration.