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Biomimicry in the Garden: Drawing Inspiration from Plants for Technology & Design

April 11, 2019 @ 4:30 pm - 6:00 pm

Inspiration from the diversity of the natural world can lead to new ideas for addressing design and technological challenges. Join us for a pair of extraordinary speakers whose work illustrates how understanding the biology of plants can lead to innovation.  

Sprouting and Branching: Natural Models of Proliferation and Repair

Strokes occur when the brain does not receive a sufficient amount of blood. Of all the forms of stroke, one of the most challenging is due to the accumulation of cholesterol and other fats in the wall of the arteries. This condition is known as intracranial atherosclerosis. Current treatments of this disease remain to have high rates of recurrent stroke and death. The research that Dr. Gonzalez has conducted at UCLA and Cedars-Sinai focuses on finding methods to bring additional blood flow to the brain of patients at risk for stroke.

Dr. Gonzalez’ investigations concentrate on fostering the potential ability of the human arteries to produce new branches, which have numerous structural and functional parallels with the way branches and roots grow in plants. These similarities have been an inspiration for several of the components of this research, which have received two National Innovation Awards from the American Heart Association. Dr. Gonzalez will be discussing the remarkable similarities seen in the process of proliferation of arteries in the human brain with what appears as a common evolutionary ancestor process in sprouting and branching in plants.

Biological Design: The History and Future of Plant Architecture

In this talk, Dr. Siobhan Braybrook will describe the basic principals governing plant body architecture and explore with you how the plant body plan has been altered for agricultural purpose. We will then explore how the designs we find in plants have been used as template and inspiration for new materials, solar panels, and even buildings. Come and find out how the Strelitzia flower pictured here inspired the function and design of a self-moving building!

Dr. Siobhan Braybrook is an Assistant Professor of Molecular, Cell, and Developmental Biology at UCLA and a plant biologist. Her research group works on understanding how shapes and patterns are grown in plants, from the arrangements of leaves around a stem to the elongation of a young seedling reaching out of the soil. She is the daughter of a horticulturist and has always loved plants.

This is event is free, but space is limited–Please RSVP.  Come early to explore the Botanical Garden.  Help support free educational programming by making a donation online.