Understanding biomaterials

Biomaterials as biosynthetic hybrids: assessing the prospects of synthetic biology for therapy and enhancement

RESEARCH QUESTIONS

  • Conceptual analysis of biomimesis, pervasiveness and convergence as outstanding features of emerging biotechno-sciences.
  • Analysis of how these features are exemplified in viral materials and Biomaterials as concrete research trajectories.
  • To analyse and assess concrete trajectories in the realm of viral materials and the societal dimensions of these developments in terms of bodily integrity, empowerment
  • and enhancement.
  • Developing, calibrating and employing the psychoanalytical toolbox for elucidating and assessing the societal dimensions of biosynthetic novums.
  • Formulating in an anticipatory and collaborative manner recommendations for optimal embedding of novel biodevices in challenged practices. 

Duration: April 2011 - present.

SUMMARY
In the past, scientists saw nature particularly as something that could be modified and improved. Recent years, the focus in bio-technoscience has shifted to the concept of biomimesis: scientists see nature as a source of innovation and improvement for molecular technology. The biomimetic materials that arise from this can potentially be applied in human enhancement. 

This project focuses on the philosophical and ethical issues concerned with human enhancement. With a techno-philosophical perspective, the researcher brings fundamental issues about the relationship between humans, technology and nature up for discussion. 

The project is closely involved with technoscience itself, by collaboration with the Institute for Molecules and Materials (IMM) of Radboud University Nijmegen. The researcher engages in a dialogue with researchers from the institute about the meaning of the biomaterials they create. By working in close collaboration with science practice, while also engage in philosophical reflection, a better understanding of questions concerning biomaterials should be possible. This should lead to an improved societal embedding of technologies around biomaterials.