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Post-doc U. Pittsburgh: Biomechanics of papillae expression in cephalopods

A post-doctoral position is available in the lab of Sachin Velankar in the Dept. of Chemical Engineering at the University of Pittsburgh to conduct experimental research on the biomechanics of papillae formation in cephalopods (octopus or cuttlefish).  These animals are famous for their camouflage abilities.  Like many other animals, cephalopods can change their color, but in addition, they can also change the texture of their skin by expressing protuberances called papillae (see images attached).  This research aims to elucidate the biomechanics of papillae expression and devise biomimetic synthetic papillae.

A portion of this research - in collaboration with Prof. Roger Hanlon of Marine Biological Laboratory, Woods Hole, MA - will involve measuring mechanical properties of cephalopod tissues.  Accordingly, experimental expertise with structural and mechanical characterization of tissues, and background knowledge of tissue mechanics is critical.

A portion of the work will fabricate synthetic papillae using synthetic soft materials such as elastomers, and smart materials such as shape memory alloys or electroactive  polymers.  Experience with such materials is desirable although not critical.


This fellowship is funded by a grant from the U.S. Air Force.  The post-doctoral fellow will have substantial independence in pursuing his/her own research ideas, and this fellowship would be an excellent platform to launch their own independent career.  This project also offers opportunities to collaborate with an expert on numerical simulation. A commitment of roughly 1.5 years is expected, although a somewhat shorter or longer period can be considered.

Interested candidates should email


Sachin Velankar

Associate Professor

Dept. of Chemical Engineering

University of Pittsburgh

PA 15261 USA

Ph. 412-624-9984

Fax 412-624-9639



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