Materials, technologies, and processes inspired by nature: biotechnology, bioinspirations in engineering and materials science, biosensors, bioenergetics, biocatalysis, biocomputers, and biocomputation (PRA 5)

Numerous research works conducted at the AGH UST have found inspiration in structures and processes that occur naturally. The said investigations are carried out by interdisciplinary teams involving physicists, chemists, computer scientists, and engineers, who pursue materials, mechanical, or bio- engineering. Nature-inspired research in the field of physical sciences includes the use of modern spectroscopic techniques for micro-/nanoimaging and recognition of biomedical materials and the processes occurring therein, including the participation of novel modelling methods. Computer science uses a number of nature-inspired algorithms as well. Neural networks, ant colony optimization algorithms, genetic algorithms, evolutionary programming, and multi-agent systems, to name but a few. Researchers use those methods to model data, simulate natural phenomena, and solve optimisation problems. Observing and mirroring naturally occurring processes also prompts design ideas for materials, processes, and technologies that limit energy and material use while simultaneously increasing work efficiency. AGH UST scientists have made numerous attempts to develop methods that use light to accelerate chemical reactions, such as in photosynthesis. Another example are memristors, otherwise known as artifical synapses. It was the brain that gave scientists the inspiration to create them. Research work on memristors is conducted to increase machine intelligence. Researchers develop biomimetic polymer and composite biomaterials enriched with drug carriers, supporting the reconstruction and regenerative stimulation of tissue damage and deficits. Close investigation of nature allows them to design efficient solutions for biomedical engineering; similarly to a spider weaving its net, for example, they create electrospun scaffolds for tissue engineering. The interdisciplinary character of research and nature-inspired activities make this field particularly attractive and abundant in scientific challenges.