Artificial jellyfish made from Rat Heart

Intellectual Property
Home / IP Insights / Artificial jellyfish made from Rat Heart

An artificial jellyfish called Medusoid was invented by Kit Parker, a biophysicist at Harvard University in Cambridge, and his team of bio-engineers by using silicone and muscle cells from a rat’s heart. Medusoid looks like a flower with eight petals but when it is placed in an electric field, it starts to pulse and swims like a jellyfish. Kit Parker explains that morphologically and functionally they built a jellyfish, but genetically it is a rat. Medusoid was invented in order to understand the fundamental laws of muscular pumps which will be used on creating artificial models of human heart tissues for regenerating organs and testing drugs

To make Medusoid’s bell beat downwards, electrical signals spread through the muscle in a smooth wave, exactly like what you see in a heart.  Janna Nawroth performed most of the experiments and created the structure by growing a single layer of rat heart muscle on a patterned sheet of polydimethylsiloxane. When placed between two electrodes in water, the muscle contracts rapidly, compressing the Medusoid. The elastic silicone then pulls the medusoid back to its original flat shape, for the next stroke. Kit Parker and his team plans to build a Medusoid using human heart cells and have already filed a Patent to use for testing drugs.