Wed, 21 Jun 2023

Dr. Maya Kleiman

Volcani Center, Israel

Harnessing biomimetics to study plant-environment interactions

Wednesday, June 21, 2023
SSB 7172 @ 3:30 p.m.

Host: Dr. Vance Williams



Biomimetics is a field of study at the interface of biology and material sciences using chemistry and materials to mimic biological systems. Usually, the goal is to generate synthetic systems inspired by biological solutions to better mankind. However, biomimetics can also be used to better understand the natural system being mimicked. In this talk, I will present the synthetic systems we are building using biomimetic tools. We use variable natural systems, all within the agricultural context. 

I will present leaf microstructure replication and how it affects bacteria and fungi adhesion and biological activity.  Additionally, I will show a system mimicking root surfaces to study soilborne microorganisms’ reactivity to root surface properties. Finally, I will show the effect of the tissue culture media's physical properties on plant development. 

The common thread of these lines of investigation is that using synthetic biomimetic system models can improve the understanding of the natural systems they mimic. 

Research Interests (from profile)

Our lab works on the interface between material sciences and biology. We use synthetic materials to both mimic and gain insight over biological systems. Our main interest lies in the surface microstructure of plants and the effect it has on plant-environment interaction.

Main projects include:
- Synthetic replicas of tomato leaf surface microstructure under different conditions that vary the microstructure. Examination of how those changes influence the leaf interaction with different tomato pathogens.
- Synthetic replicas of tomato root surface in a three dimensional manner as well as combination of different structures with different chemicals extracted from the root. This system is a platform to separate the physical effect from the chemical effect in the root-pathogen interaction.
- Studying the influence of the three dimensional arrangement of the cells on the plant's regeneration potential.