Engineering Biology & Materials Science
Health & Medicine Challenge:

Eradicate existing and emerging infectious diseases.

Fabrics and other materials to protect against and prevent infection.

  • Technical Achievement: Engineer systems for attaching biomolecules and biopolymers to fabrics and fibers covalently or noncovalently for stable, robust, and uniform functionalization.
  • Technical Achievement: Engineer fabrics that incorporate metallic nanoparticles or functionalized silica that act to lyse pathogens.
  • Technical Achievement: Synthesize biologically-derived fabrics that have similar or better mechanical properties (strength, toughness, elasticity) as the best petroleum-derived and agriculture-derived fabrics.
  • Technical Achievement: Engineer fabrics that incorporate antimicrobial proteins or peptides, small molecules.
  • Technical Achievement: Engineer fabrics that modulate skin microbiome composition and/or function.
  • Technical Achievement: Engineer fabrics with amphiphilic or structured surfaces that prevent bacterial/microbial growth and proliferation.
  • Technical Achievement: Engineer fabrics that can be ‘re-activated’ with biofunctionalization with formulated soak/washes in defined solutions.
  • Technical Achievement: Engineer antimicrobial peptides functionalized with synthetic chemistries or conjugated to inorganic substances to enhance specificity and potency.
  • Technical Achievement: Engineer protein coatings for medical implants (pacemakers, artificial valves, joint replacements) that actively resist biofilm formation.

Materials that enable transport and storage of vaccines, medications, and diagnostics without a cold-chain, or on-site production, to maximize efficacy and affordability in remote field locations.

  • Technical Achievement: Engineer sol-gels or similar phase-transition materials to limit diffusion of molecules in room-temperature storage conditions.
  • Technical Achievement: Engineer materials that stabilize proteins against denaturation or refold them, to remove the need for cold-chain storage.
  • Technical Achievement: Engineer materials that reduce DNase-, RNase-, protease-, lipase-catalyzed degradation of vaccine and medication components.
  • Technical Achievement: Improve materials for ‘paper strip’ cell-free biological diagnostics to improve stability and shelf-life.
  • Technical Achievement: Enable materials and manufacturing ability to produce and stand up remote biomanufacturing production facilities, such as construction materials that could be produced on-site via engineered biology.

Materials to encapsulate and disperse genetically engineered insect technologies to eradicate disease vectors.

  • Technical Achievement: Engineer material coating for mosquito eggs to keep them healthy and viable in diapause at room temperature for >12 months.
  • Technical Achievement: Enable materials for packaging genetically engineered mosquito eggs to enable remote environmental release while protecting from predation or infection.
Last updated: January 19, 2021 Back