Skip to content
Loading Events

« All Events

  • This event has passed.

Nature-Inspired & Biotechnology University Day

October 14 All day


The Doolittle Institute is the intermediary for those who want to build relationships with scientists and engineers teaching or studying at colleges and universities. On Behalf of the U.S. Air Force Research Lab (AFRL) the Doolittle Institute searched for potential collaborators who are researching or have already completed research in nature-inspired technology and biotechnology to present their research in Nature-Inspired and Biotechnology University Day on October 14, 2021.

The following topics that will be explored at the event include:

Topic 1

Biological Source of Heat and Insulation for Arctic Environments  

The main objective of this topic is to explore how biological systems can be employed to mitigate the effects of arctic temperatures. 

Topic 2  

Multi-functional Materials

Ecological demands on biological species have caused them to develop multifunctional and highly specialized materials.  Protection from crushing and radiation, thermal regulation, signaling, and self-healing are examples of the utility of these materials.  Combining functionality in a single material is often a consequence of nature’s ability to self-assemble hierarchical structures with high fidelity.  In order to translate nature’s design into tunable Air Force materials, a fundamental understanding is needed of the constituent units, the design principles of the composite, and the mechanisms involved in its assembly.   Using additive manufacturing to replicate natural composite structures would enable tunable, on-site, on-demand supplies for the Air Force. 

Topic 3  

Distributed Visual Systems

Though animal visual systems are highly diverse, they seemingly share the same fundamental organization: light is captured by a distributed array of detectors from which visual information is integrated, processed, and applied to decision making and behavior. These systems range over a spectrum of highly centralized to decentralized arrays from which information is likely processed over shared structural and computational principles. In particular, an interest in animal systems that have light-sensing structures spread across their bodies which may vary in location, abundance, and complexity. For example, sea urchins use thousands of photoreceptors distributed across their bodies to process spatial information. Some other animals have fewer but more complex light-sensing structures, such as sabellid and serpulid polychaetes that have hundreds of compound eyes on their specialized tentacles, or chitons that have hundreds of camera-type eyes on their shell plates.

Topic 4 

Biological visual sensors correlated to optical signatures of desired objects/biological surfaces

Arthropod visual systems can detect both polarization and spectral content of the electromagnetic radiation field. Insight is needed into the “design rules” of how the sensitivities of observing systems (biological visual sensors) match the signal(s) present in the environment. It is thought that the spectral signatures of flowers (particularly in the UV) have evolved concurrently with the visual system sensitivities of their pollinators. Other structures, like surfaces that reflect circularly polarized light or photonic crystals, however, have remained underexplored from a developmental and functional standpoint.

The potential opportunities for the selected presenters include: 

  • Seedling Funding and Sponsored Research
  • Fellowships/Summer Scientist Programs at the AFRL Munitions Directorate 
  • Cooperative Research and Development Agreements (CRADA) 
  • Educational Partnership Agreements (EPA) 

Event is only open to the Presenters and the Air Force Research Labratory