More on living buildings / materials

There are a bunch of stories out in relation to work from MIT on “Living Materials”


Basically all of these stories refer to a paper in Nature Materials (alas, non Open Access): Synthesis and patterning of tunable multiscale materials with engineered cells. But what appears to be a preprint of the paper (or maybe of a very similar paper) is available on BioRXiv.

Anyway – the concept is interesting. They engineer the bacterium E. coli in various ways and then show that they can get these engineered cells to form fibrils that are controllable and responsive and thus can be used to make living, controllable materials.  This is a different angle on the “microbiology of the built environment” for sure – but certainly an interesting one.

Image: Yan Liang
Image: Yan Liang

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Jonathan Eisen

I am an evolutionary biologist and a Professor at U. C. Davis. My lab is in the UC Davis Genome Center and I hold appointments in the Department of Medical Microbiology and Immunology in the School of Medicine and the Department of Evolution and Ecology in the College of Biological Sciences. My research focuses on the origin of novelty (how new processes and functions originate). To study this I focus on sequencing and analyzing genomes of organisms, especially microbes and using phylogenomic analysis (see my lab site here which has more information on lab activities).  In addition to research, I am heavily involved in the Open Access publishing and Open Science movements.