Stoney's British Pub
3007 Concord Pike
University of Pennsylvania
“Augmented Bio-Reality: Genetically-Encoded Materials to Engineer Cells and Tissues”
To construct a house, an architect creates a blueprint and contractors follow instructions to assemble building blocks into a ﬁnal design. However, at the micro scale, biological systems form structures in a different fashion – they create order from disorder via a process of self-assembly or self-organization. I will discuss efforts from our interdisciplinary research group at Penn to understand how cells build organelles via a process called condensation, and how cell collectives can be understood as bicontinuous materials. The signiﬁcance of this research extends broadly from designing liquid crystals used in TV displays to understanding and controlling the shapes of living tissues. Our ability to design and build living materials has important applications in sustainability and for the future of regenerative medicine.