RIT is part of an NSF-funded project to design futuristic materials inspired by biological cells

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Rochester Institute of Technology Associate Professor Moumita Das is part of a team of researchers who recently received a $ 1.8 million grant from the National Science Foundation to design and create inspired and empowered next-generation materials. by biological cells.

The team’s goal is to create self-directed, programmable and reconfigurable materials, using biological building blocks, including proteins and cells, capable of producing force and movement. This research could pave the way for future applications of materials ranging from self-healing bridges and self-propelled materials to programmable micro-robotics, wound healing and dynamic prostheses.

Das will work alongside a team of physicists, biologists and engineers, including Principal Investigator Professor Rae Robertson-Anderson of the University of San Diego, Professor Megan Valentine of the University of California at Santa Barbara. , Professor Jennifer Ross of Syracuse University and Professor Michael Rust at the University of Chicago.

Das is a theorist and a mathematical modeler who will develop predictive and quantitative mathematical models for this project, informed by experiments carried out by the other collaborators of the project.

This particular grant has a very tight comeback between theory and experiments. I want to create models that can help us quantitatively predict the properties of materials and provide us with rational design principles so that we can actually build them. “

Moumita Das, Faculty of the School of Physics and Astronomy of the RIT

The four-year grant will also allow undergraduates from each university to gain hands-on experiences in collaborative research, mentoring and professional development. By the end of the project, the team will have built the framework for their materials design concept, including a small prototype, which can help others advance futuristic materials to accomplish the many processes living systems already perform. transparent way, such as healing and regulation. themselves.

“We have assembled a leading interdisciplinary team of researchers from across the country who bring unique perspectives and expertise to make these research ideas a reality,” said Robertson-Anderson. “This project is a key example of the power of a collaborative team approach to research that stimulates scientific discovery and is necessary to address the many pressing issues facing society today – including those that demand new materials. . “

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Rochester Institute of Technology


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