Computationally Driven Design of Tissue-Inspired Multifunctional Materials
In nature, living cells join to form tissues capable of collective behaviors, such as sensing and responding to external cues, communicating, sorting and storing chemical species, and adapting their mechanical properties to sustain necessary loads. Biological tissues achieve these desirable properties because of careful control over the contents, arrangements, and interconnections of individual cells, an approach that yields hierarchical materials with high levels of adaptability, responsiveness, and tunable mechanical strength. Replicating these types of emergent properties in synthetic materials remains a major engineering challenge.
This Designing Materials to Revolutionize and Engineer our Future (DMREF) award supports basic research and scientific development of material systems that mimic the composition, organization, and properties of living tissues. The computationally led designs of tissues-like materials with precise compositions and spatial arrangements seek to offer a generalizable solution for applications in artificial tissue replacement, wound healing, soft robotics, and embedded computing technologies. In addition, the project will support the technical and professional development of the STEM workforce by promoting the participation of high school, undergraduate, and graduate students, especially from the first-generation and underrepresented groups, through various outreach and research activities.