Since 2019 Yael Politi is a Professor for “Bioprospecting”at B CUBE – Center for Molecular Bioengineering, at the Technische Universität Dresden, Germany. Here her group is focused on understanding structure-properties-function relationships in arthropod cuticular structures and studying the formation processes of cuticle deposition in particular the control of finer orientation. Before arriving at TUD, YP was a group Leader at the Max-Planck Institute for Colloids and Interfaces, Department of Biomaterials, in Potsdam, Germany. This position was developed from her postdoctoral training in the department under the supervision of Prof. Peter Fratzl. Yael studied Biology and did her Ph.D. in the field of Biomineralization at the Weizmann Institute of Science, Department of Structural Biology, in Rehovot, Israel, with Prof. Lia Addadi and Prof. Steve Weiner as her direct supervisors.
The arthropod cuticle: Materials toolbox for functional diversity
Abstract: Nature has evolved materials that are used for a wide range of functional challenges with minimal compositional changes. The exoskeletal cuticle of arthropods is such as example -made of a combination of chitin, protein, water and small amounts of organic cross-linkers or minerals. The cuticle serves mechanical, optical and sensory functions with minimal compositional modification, achieving a wide range of materials properties based on its hierarchical structure. How the ‘design space’ of a single type of composite with varying internal architecture is capable to serve a remarkable diversity of functions, when engineered systems are typically based on a large variety of materials differing in composition and processing to provide the desired functionality?