S8E10: How can nature-inspired engineering improve human health?

Antibiotic resistance has become a growing problem in the treatment of bacterial infections. In addition to minimizing or negating the effects of existing medicine, these antibiotic-resistant bacteria, or “superbugs,” are mutating faster than the development of new remedies.

Caitlin Howell, University of Maine associate professor of biomedical engineering, is working on new tools that take notes from nature to combat antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Similar to the way in which the human body keeps balance with its own bacterial populations, Howell’s devices use nontoxic, non-invasive surface-based technology to trap bacteria and prevent them from spreading.

In this episode of “The Maine Question” podcast, Howell discusses how nature can inspire engineers when developing new resources for improving human health. She elaborates on her research developing technology that can help reduce infections among hospital patients.