Published Article: Biomimicry, Sharkskin, Sharklet Technologies

0413medfc-use copyColin’s article on biomimicry with a focus on Sharklet Technologies made the cover of Medical Design magazine. Here’s an excerpt (the introductory paragraphs), along with a link to read the full article on the magazine’s website. Please contact the publisher if you’d like a copy of the print publication.

Thanks again to Mark Spiecker and the team at Sharklet Technologies, Bryony Schwan and the staff at the Biomimicry 3.8 Institute, Koan Jeff Baysa, MD, and Joe Jancsurak at Penton/Medical Design.

Sharkskin inspires novel solutions to prevent HAIs

Could sharks hold the solution for preventing tens of thousands of deaths annually due to healthcare associated infections?

Readers of Medical Design are well aware that the implications of nosocomial infections—more commonly referred to as healthcare-associated infections (HAIs)—can be devastating, even deadly.

CDC recently underscored the criticality of this when it devoted its March 2013 Vital Signs Report solely to the prevention of infections from carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE). Similar to methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) bacteria, these germs are highly resistant to antibiotics, making them extremely difficult to treat. The most common species reported are Escherichia coli (E. coli), Klebsiella, and Enterobacter.

Patients taking long courses of certain antibiotics or requiring devices such as ventilators or urinary catheters have the greatest risk of acquiring CRE infections. Approximately one out of every 20 hospitalized patients will contract an HAI, and mortality rates have been reported as high as 50% in patients who develop bloodstream infections from the most resistant germs.

Sharklet is a patented surface technology comprised of millions of raised microscopic features arranged in distinct diamond shapes to form a continuous pattern. Each Sharklet diamond measures about 26µm across and nearly 3µm in feature height (Source: Sharklet Technologies)

In response to the dramatic increase in HAI incidence over the past decade, leading-edge engineers and designers have been applying nature-inspired approaches in developing defense strategies against CRE, MRSA, and other superbugs.

How so? Picture the iconic dorsal fin of a shark—ancient, ominous, and rubbery smooth—knifing speedily through the water. Then look closer, much closer, with an electron microscope even, and marvel at how hundreds of millions of years of R&D have perfected how that shark’s skin functions.

That is one approach to biological inspiration driving innovation at the likes of Sharklet Technologies ( an Aurora, CO-based company applying a rapidly emerging discipline called biomimicry to create nontoxic, chemical-free surfaces that greatly inhibit the survival and transfer of bacteria that cause HAIs.

READ THE FULL ARTICLE including an overview of biomimicry at, click here.

Or you can read a PDF of the print layout version by clicking on the link below:

Medical Design_0413_HAIs_Sharks_by_Colin_Mangham