Research Projects BioLab

Symbiotic Subjects – Beneficiary Relations and Interactions

The BioLab's overarching research theme "Symbiotic Subjects – Beneficiary Relations and Interactions" focuses on the changing human-nature relationship. Can we learn from symbiotic systems? Can we understand ourselves as one? We explore the potential of human interaction with living matter for possible futures. What are the possibilities of microbial cooperation through biotechnological processes? How will we use today's renewable resources more responsibly – viewing them as symbiotic partners rather than resources? These and other questions are raised through the development of experimental material, artefacts, and scenarios. We experiment with embedding microorganisms in different materials and give an insight into different material futures.

Teilprojekt Living Layers

Das BioLab widmet sich im Projekt „Living Layers“ der Einbettung von lebenden Mikroorganismen in Materialien, Membranen und textile Flächen. Anhand der experimentellen Verknüpfung von textilen Technologien mit biotechnologischen Prozessen untersucht das Projekt die Potenziale, die aus den symbiotischen (Schicht-)Systemen entstehen. Dabei kombinieren wir konventionelle Formgebungsmethoden, wie den 3D-Druck, Dipmoulding oder sogar Electro-Spinning mit einer explorativen Arbeitsweise. So ergibt sich die Möglichkeit, Oberflächen und Strukturen mit völlig neuen Eigenschaften zu gestalten. Außerdem wird dabei ausgelotet, welcher Handlungsspielraum dem Lebendigen zukommt, inwiefern es bei der Gestaltung des Materials selbst mitwirkt oder in Interaktion mit der Umwelt tritt.

Sub-project Bio.Lumina

The project examines the fundamental biochemical and structural properties that are required to preserve and manage microbial activity in new materials. The subject of study is bioluminescent bacteria, which have a symbiotic relationship with numerous marine organisms. Our research focuses on Euprymna scolopes, the Hawaiian bobtail squid. The squid breeds the bioluminescent bacteria Aliivibrio fischeri in its light organ to hide its own shadow at night. The process involves systematic selection and cultivation, as well as the control of quorum-sensing mechanisms within the A. fischeri population. Our aim is to transfer our findings to various contexts and materials in order to embed living microorganisms – above and beyond luminescent bacteria – in products. We aspire to generate active microbial materials that can be processed with manufacturing techniques such as 3D printing and electrospinning.