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The Petri Dish: Beyond Velcro

Taking clues from nature to design solutions to big challenges and drive innovation

The Petri Dish

Design inspired by biology is nothing new. Think Leonardo da Vinci’s “flying machines.” Or consider Velcro, an oft-cited example of “biomimicry,” which copies the clinging prowess of burrs. From sonar (bats) to nanowires (bacteria) to polyurethane swimsuits (shark skin), the list inventions premised on emulating patterns and processes that already exist in nature is long and getting longer. What’s new is the scale and complexity of the problems. Explore the bio-based approach informing innovative applications in far-flung fields from medicine to robotics and beyond.

Panelists include evolutionary biologist Emilie Snell-Rood, Marc Swackhamer, head of the U’s School of Architecture, and Abdennour Abbas, who leads the Biosensors and Bionanotechnology Lab. Moderator: Limnologist Jim Cotner.


Wednesday, April 5, 2017
Doors open at 6 p.m., Program starts at 7 p.m.
Live music and trivia precede the program. 
Food and beverage available for purchase
Location: Camp Bar, downtown St. Paul


Available online at

The Petri Dish explores how biology affects our lives and what it means for our future. No PowerPoints. Just live music, trivia and lots of lively, curiosity-driven conversations on timely topics with University of Minnesota experts. 


January, 2017