Faculty Sponsor's Department:
Research has recently focused on marine mussels as they possess the ability to attach to various surfaces via collagen-rich threads that end in a plaque. Plaques consist of multiple layers of numerous proteins that, when organized in a certain way, create a sturdy, water-resistant adhesive. Because the plaque formation process is quite lengthy and sporadic, we proposed to design and construct an apparatus that captures this process. By monitoring the mussel at various times during the plaque formation process, the goal is to find out the organization of proteins deposited so that a water grade adhesive can be synthesized with possible medical applications. The mussel will be suspended in a tank with a photodiode array sensing horizontally, triggering the camera to begin filming once a voltage drop occurs. We plan on physically disrupting the mussel during its process by prodding it, allowing determination of each protein deposited. Current efforts show that the photodiode array circuit integrated with LabVIEW via data acquisition cards will allow us to see the change in voltage over time for the amount of light taken in by the array.