Engineering Biology & Materials Science
Environmental Biotechnology Challenge:

Address and mitigate climate change.

Materials that can regulate, or are adaptive to, heat and moisture.

  • Technical achievement: Advanced stimuli-responsive polymers or hydrogels with tunable functionality and environmental adaptability.
  • Technical achievement: Engineer flexible thermoelectric or heat converting materials to transform environmental heat into other useful forms of energy.
  • Technical achievement: Engineer soft materials and membranes incorporating the adaptability of extremophiles to harsh environmental conditions.
  • Technical achievement: Advance computational modeling of hierarchical and functional properties of candidate soft materials under extreme conditions.

Materials to enhance carbon capture from the atmosphere

  • Technical achievement: Engineer structured surfaces for seeding photosynthetic biofilms that maximize light penetration and energy capture per unit surface area.
  • Technical achievement: Engineer functionalized polymeric thin films with CO2 capturing moieties or particles (such as metal-organic frameworks) that trigger conformational or fluorescence response (e.g., stress sensors) upon gas capture.

Easily-recyclable materials with desirable mechanical properties.

  • Technical achievement: Engineer biologically-derived materials with restricted or incomplete depolymerization that can be used to replace plastic bottles and bags, and can be easily recycled through an environmental process into new materials with similar mechanical properties.
  • Technical achievement: Development of strains capable of growth on plastics at reasonable growth rates and organisms that convert “bad” plastic into “good” biodegradable plastic at scale.
  • Technical achievement: Engineer biomaterials that degrade into environmentally-friendly products both aerobically and anaerobically.
Last updated: January 19, 2021 Back