Biologically-Enabled Materials

Biologically-Enabled Materials Leader: Bradley Chmelka

Within the Biologically-Enabled Materials research focus area, there are three core research themes: biochemical syntheses of new materials, biotic-abiotic interactions and interfaces, and integration of biological components in materials under abiotic conditions. Projects in this area include the harnessing of membrane proteins in hybrid materials, the use of conjugated oligo-electrolytes to enhance extracellular electron transfer in bioelectrochemical processes, the development of biocatalysts for stereoselective syntheses of complicated and previously inaccessible organic products, 3D printing methodologies that are compatible with and incorporate biomolecule functionalities, the development of bio-derived thermoelectric gels, the preparation of photomechanically-responsive biocompatible polymers to mediate adhesion or actuate changes in material shape, sealing, or load-bearing properties, and engineering of bio-derived mucus matrices. These projects all involve combining state-of-the-art methods in biochemistry and materials synthesis, characterization, and processing, as well as the use of advanced tools for establishing the resultant functional properties of the new materials.