Lab In New Mexico Creates “Zombie” Cells That Function Better After They Die

Ken AshfordScience & TechnologyLeave a Comment

What could possibly go wrong?

“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.”