“Zombie” mammalian cells that may function better after they die have been created by researchers at Sandia National Laboratories and the University of New Mexico (UNM).
The simple technique coats a cell with a silica solution to form a near-perfect replica of its structure. The process may simplify a wide variety of commercial fabrication processes from the nano- to macroscale. It’s also allowing scientists to preserve cells down to the minor grooves of its DNA.
Summing up, lead researcher Bryan Kaehr, a Sandia materials scientist, offers what may be the first distinction in scientific literature between a mummy cell and a zombie cell. “King Tut was mummified,” he said, “to approximately resemble his living self, but the process took place without mineralization [a process of fossilization]. Our zombie cells bridge chemistry and biology to create forms that not only near-perfectly resemble their past selves, but can do future work.”