Creating artificial biosystems
Prof. Martin Hanczyc, University of Southern Denmark, Odense
We are taking an experimental approach to create systems possessing life-like properties such as metabolism, communication and chemotaxis. We base our research on simple oil in water in water systems and we explore the dynamic and emergent properties of these systems. An oil droplet that contains a simple one-step hydrolysis reaction becomes motile and capable of sensing the environment, environmental remodeling, and chemotaxis, and therefore the droplet is able to use its own physico-chemical mechanisms to avoid equilibrium, much like living systems do. The droplet engages in active communication with its environment and other droplets, which results in group dynamics. In addition the modularity of the system is being developed into programmable higher order architecture of droplets. This research aims to create new dynamic materials but also to help us understand living systems and origin of life scenarios.