Why Does This Research Matter?

1. We are making use of the 200+ million years of engineering experiments already performed over the evolutionary history of our focal organisms.  These evolutionary experiments give us innovative insights into human-designed and engineered systems.   This innovative potential is often called “biomimicry” or “biomimetic design”. 

2. Basic organismal research is the source of all of our current model systems that are used for biomedical research.  The informative power of fruit fly, zebrafish and mouse systems was discovered by biologists examining the basic biology of these animals.  Basic research precedes and informs nearly all applied research discoveries.

3. At the heart of what we do in this laboratory is the exploration of organismal biological systems, making discoveries and uncovering new concepts and ideas about our planet.  As scientific explorers, we reach for new understanding of the life surrounding us, whether on land or in the ocean, and then place it in the broader evolutionary history that reaches back the hundreds of millions of years that our focal organisms have lived on the planet.  Why does this matter?  Knowledge of our biological world enhances the quality of our lives by bringing new ideas, understanding, and inspiration from the organisms around us.  The essence of being human is to experience the pleasure of knowledge, new perspectives, surprises, and a deeper view into history and life.  Thus, we strive to build bridges among disciplines to promote new discoveries and to explain our research in a way that both informs other scientists in our fields and, of equal importance, the general public.