I did not know that the word Sandia actually means "umbrella", but apparently it does, since the Umbrella, I mean, Sandia National Labs and the University of New Mexico have now created the first zombie cell! This cell has all its evaporated to leave a silica-coated dead cell, that outperforms living tissue.

I don't know what the hell this would be for, other than turning you and I into flesh-eating somnambulants. It's now time to start digging my basement/shelter and stocking up on ammo.

A team at Sandia National Laboratories and the University of New Mexico have innovated a technique whereby mammalian cells are coated with silica to form a near-perfect replicas.

The silica replicants can survive greater pressures and temperatures than flesh, and perform many functions better than the original cells did when alive.

By painting the cells with silicic acid in a petri dish, the acid embalms the organic matter in the cell down to the nanometer level.

Heating the silica to around 400C evaporates the protein in the cell, but leaves the silica as a three-dimensional replica of the "formerly living being", Hess said.

"Our zombie cells bridge chemistry and biology to create forms that not only near-perfectly resemble their past selves, but can do future work," he said, terrifyingly.

via Sandia National Laboratories and Huffington Post