The 50 challenges for 2050

Isabelle Marcotte’s work in Quebec Science.

In its special 50th anniversary issue, the popular science magazine Québec Science met nearly a hundred young researchers, including Pr. Isabelle Marcotte, who are working on 50 challenges that our society will have to face by 2050 in the fields of medicine, social science, technology, basic science and agriculture.

Rebuild human tissue

Professor Isabelle Marcotte is interested in the wire of mussels, the byssus, which allows these molluscs to attach to the rocks. A little less resistant than the spider wire and just as extensible, the byssus wire is composed in particular of a long protein rich in collagen (which forms human skin), explains the researcher who studies its structure.

Isabelle Marcotte’s team transforms the byssus into a non-toxic biofilm where cells can grow. Among other things, this biomaterial could be used to make artificial tendons, sutures, and vehicles to administer drugs.