Shark-inspired tech pioneers to speak at CSU Dec. 9

Imagine bacteria tenths of a hundredth of an inch – bacteria that cause debilitating disease – being unable to colonize on materials because they are simply unable to grip.


Innovative design now allows for it. Pioneers from the industry, Mark Spiecker, CEO of Sharklet Technologies Inc., and Director of Product Development Chelsea Magin will speak at CSU on Dec. 9 from 12-1 p.m. in the Lory Student Center Cherokee Park Ballroom. Registration is required. Free and open to the public, the event is part of the ASPIRE Speaker Series, an Office of the Vice President for Research initiative. ASPIRE stands for Accelerators of Science: Pioneers, Innovators, Researchers and Educators.

Shark skin is behind the technology at Sharklet, which inhibits bacterial growth through pattern alone. The design draws inspiration from the shape and pattern of the dermal denticles of sharkskin. Sharks are resistant to fouling organisms in the water including algae and barnacles.

The shark-inspired technology can now begin to benefit human health when used in the production of medical tools such as catheters, endotracheal tubes, wound dressings and adhesive films. The Sharklet micropattern is very small – about 3 microns tall and 2 microns wide. While one cannot see or feel the micropattern, its invisible presence protects surfaces against bacteria and other microorganisms.

Spiecker and Magin will discuss collaboration with CSU and the future of this technology, which foregoes antimicrobials or chemicals in its design. Because of the revolutionary concept, its practical application in the medical field continues to grow.

As speakers in the ASPIRE series, Spiecker and Magin fall into an elite group of innovators whose developments have far-reaching impact in their industry, said Vice President for Research Alan Rudolph.

“At CSU, innovation is encouraged through our research, coursework and university culture. This opportunity to meet leaders of innovation in industry serves to further this ideal.

“The impact of Sharklet Technologies Inc. work is in bioinspired materials and inspires us to look at adaptations in the animal world to guide us in new design.  As we build our new school of advanced materials discovery we too will look at natural systems for inspiration across our land grant mission,” Rudolph said.