Ithaca College Slug Goo Researcher Andy Smith Wins Game Show

Ithaca College biology professor Andy Smith impressed the hosts of the game show podcast “Tell Me Something I Don’t Know” with his research on slug secretions. Smith was voted the show’s winner and was presented with a “certificate of impressive knowledge.”

Hosted by “Freakonomics” author and “Freakonomics Radio” host Stephen Dubner, “Tell Me Something I Don’t Know” is a journalistic game show where guest presenters try to impress Dubner and his co-hosts with fascinating facts or research. The audience then votes on the winner based on the novelty, usefulness and truthfulness of what was presented. The theme of the episode was “All About Bugs (of the Animal and Computer Varieties).”


Smith presented his research on the slug species Arion subfuscus, which secretes a gel that quickly hardens into a flexible adhesive. Smith’s research has played a key role in the development of a new synthetic adhesive that could replace stitches and staples in medical procedures.

“It works spectacularly well,” Smith told Dubner and co-host John McWhorter, an associate professor at Columbia University. “It’s far superior to any other medical adhesive that’s on the market right now.”

As captivated as they were by the medical implications of Smith’s research, Dubner and his co-hosts couldn’t resist asking the professor if he had ever tried eating one of his specimens.

“Not a slug, no, I’ve never been tempted,” Smith demurred. “Snails are delicious.”

Smith’s research has been featured in numerous media outlets, including The Smithsonian, Reader’s Digest and the Washington Post.

Listen to the full episode

Photo illustration of a slug on a table with surgical tools