Professor of Biology
- Founded new sub-field of research: gecko adhesion / adhesive nanostructures at the interface between biology, physics, and materials science.
- Discovered that geckos stick to walls with intermolecular van Waals forces (PNAS 2002).
- Discovered that gecko foot-hairs are the first self-cleaning adhesive known to science (PNAS 2005)
- Discovered that gecko setae are a “smart adhesive” controlled mechanically not chemically (Nature 2000).
- Invented and patented first biologically-inspired design for gecko-like dry adhesive nanostructures, “gecko glue”. US Patents #6,737,160 and #7,011,723.
- Discovered that geckos use only 1/3 as much energy to move as do other animals with legs.
- Challenged common assumption that evolution produces optimal designs. Showed that adaptation often produces suboptimal designs.
General Research Interests:
- Biomechanics, physiology, and evolution of animal locomotion
- Adhesive biomaterials in geckos and other animals
- Biological inspiration for novel engineering designs.
PhD 1995 University of California at Berkeley, BA 1988 University of California at Santa Cruz