Medical Research Council - London Institute of Medical Sciences

Now in our 10th year of bringing you beautiful imagery from biomedical science every day

31 August 2016


Tissue engineers design tiny structures to support microscopic life, often finding inspiration in unlikely places. These artificial fibres borrow an idea from mushrooms to help heal human bones. Crowded under the caps of mushrooms, gills create a large surface area for producing seed-like spores. Similarly, the gills running down though these fibres create space for human cells growing inside. One thousand times smaller than those on a button mushroom, these gills have another useful trick – creating currents in liquid pumped into the fibres. Turbulent currents create stresses similar to those our bones feel every day – enough to encourage stem cells lining the gills to begin transforming into early bone cells. Gilled fibres have a promising future as tiny scaffolds in bone engineering, and highlight the power of biomimicry in reusing nature’s ideas to benefit other forms of life.

Written by John Ankers

Published in Acta Biomaterialia, May 2016
  • Image from work by Stephen Tuina, Behnam Pourdeyhimib and Elizabeth Loboa
  • Joint Dept. of Biomedical Engineering at North Carolina State University and University of NC at Chapel Hill; The Nonwovens Institute at NC State University; Dept. of Materials Science and Engineering at NC State University, NC, USA
  • Image copyright Elsevier 2016
  • Published in Acta Biomaterialia, May 2016

Search The Archive

Submit An Image

What is BPoD?

BPoD stands for Biomedical Picture of the Day. Managed by the MRC London Institute of Medical Sciences the website aims to engage everyone, young and old, in the wonders of biomedicine. Images are kindly provided for inclusion on this website through the generosity of scientists across the globe.

Read More

BPoD is also available in Catalan at with translations by the University of Valencia.