2022 MRS Fall Meeting & Exhibit

Symposium SB08-Bioinspired and Biological Polymers—From Living Organisms to Sustainable Functional Materials in Photonics, Electronics and Biology

Through billions of years of evolution, living organisms have developed a wide variety of functional polymers to cope with a number of diverse and complex biological functions. These range from very general structural capacity to manyfold physiological roles and sometimes very specific tasks. Among these, interaction with light (absorption, emission, diffraction, also through the generation of nanopatterns), ionic and electronic transport, adhesion, protection. Such features are the result of a diverse range of molecular and supramolecular architectures which in some cases still have to be fully unravelled. Melanins, cellulose, lignine, biosilica, silk and many structural proteins are some examples of the wide variety of natural polymers that have been recently exploited in a number of applications ranging from optoelectronics and photonics to biomedicine.

Photonics, electronics and nanotechnology based on biological materials can take advantage not only from in vivo production and / or extraction from natural sources, but also from chemical modification that can build-in additional functions. Moreover, hybrid architectures of artificial components (e.g. semiconducting polymers, quantum dots) with bio-polymers can be obtained not only by self-assembly or chemical modifications, but can be also produced by “living foundries” or biofactories.

The symposium will focus on the materials side rather than on devices, and applications will be covered to complement and illustrate the underpinning chemical and physical aspects. These will include: (bio)synthesis, chemical or biological modifications of the materials, generation of new bio-hybrid systems, extraction, processing and assembly, ultimately unraveling the physical properties of complex chemical and biological systems. Implementation in devices and applications ranging from photonics and electronics to bio-medicine and energy will be covered with emphasis on material properties and structure. In addition, this symposium would be an inspiring forum stimulating the progress of a new common language bridging physics, chemistry, biology, materials science and engineering. It is expected to attract academic and industrial researchers willing to contribute to and take part in the fast progress of this new area that will likely have an important impact on future technological developments of materials science.

Topics will include:

  • Biological polymers as materials, including melanin, cellulose, lignin, silk, DNA, proteins
  • Bio-polymers for electronics and photonics
  • Bio-inorganic materials (including biosilica, calcite, structural materials)
  • Synthesis of bio-mimetic and bio-inspired polymers
  • Chemical modification of bio-polymers
  • Biotechnological production of bio-polymers
  • Biopolymers for biomedical devices
  • Biodegradable and biocompatible polymers for photonics and electronics
  • Sustainable materials from biology

Invited Speakers (tentative):

  • Lia Addadi (Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel)
  • Angela Belcher (Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA)
  • Gabor Forgacs (University of Missouri, USA)
  • Thomas Fuhrmann-Lieker (Universität Kassel, Germany)
  • Jessica Garb (University of Massachusetts Lowell, USA)
  • Brendan A Harley (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, USA)
  • Sarah Heilshorn (Stanford University, USA)
  • Mihai Irimia-Vladu (Johannes Kepler Universität Linz, Austria)
  • Mathias Kolle (Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA)
  • Benedetto Marelli (Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA)
  • Paul Meredith (Swansea University, United Kingdom)
  • Keiji Numata (RIKEN, Japan)
  • Giuseppe Maria Paternò (Politecnico di Milano, Italy)
  • Roberta Ragni (University of Bari, Italy)
  • Eleni Stavrinidou (Linköping University, Sweden)
  • Hu Tao (Shanghai Institute of Microsystem and Information Technology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, China)
  • Massimo Trotta (Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche, Italy)
  • Tony Weiss (The University of Sydney, Australia)

Symposium Organizers

Gianluca Maria Farinola
Università degli Studi di Bari Aldo Moro
Dipartimento di Chimica

Chiara Ghezzi
University of Massachusetts Lowell
Biomedical Engineering

Fiorenzo Omenetto
Tufts University
Dept. of Biomedical Engineering

Silvia Vignolini
University of Cambridge
Department of Chemistry
United Kingdom

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