About Duncan J. Irschick

Portrait of Duncan J. Irschick. Image credit: T. Hoogendyk & A. Slocombe
Photo credit:
T. Hoogendyk & A. Slocombe

Duncan J Irschick is an integrative biologist and innovator interested in the evolution and ecology of animal athletics, and how biological form informs synthetic design. His research on gecko adhesion, animal movement, and bioinspiration has garnered international acclaim and awards.  Duncan has published 135 papers on animal function and evolution, and has been a co-inventor on several patents.  He has received generous funding from NIH, NSF, and private foundations, and media attention from the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, CNET.org, and CNN.  Irschick has been invited to 73 talks for Universities and organizations all over the world. Most recently, he has served on a panel at Techventure in Singapore in 2015, gave a TTI/Vanguard talk in San Diego in 2015, and a TEDx talk at the Sorbonne in Paris in 2012 in the conference entitled "The New Age of Enlightenment". He has been a Keynote and plenary speaker for various Universities, including Tubingen University in Germany, Iowa State University, and Carelton University.  In 2014, he won the College Outstanding Research Award from the University of Massachusetts.

As an example of his work, Irschick has recently collaborated with Al Crosby from the Polymer Sciences Dept at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst to apply evolutionary and anatomical principles towards the creation of a novel gecko-like adhesive. In February of 2012, they, along with Mike Bartlett, Dan King, and others, published a paper in the journal Advanced Materials that described Geckskin™, a synthetic adhesive that mimics gecko feet. Geckskin™ is capable of holding more than 700 lbs (300 kg) on smooth surfaces (e.g., glass), yet is easily removable, and leaves no residue. Geckskinn™ was hailed by CNN as one of the top five Scientific Breakthroughs of 2012 because of its ability to provide powerful, removable and reusable adhesion at large sizes. Geckskin™ has now been internationally recognized as a significant technological breakthrough for enabling gecko-like adhesion at larger sizes.