Symposium SB02—Multiscale Materials Engineering Within Biological Systems
Improving the precision of sensors, transducers, and therapeutics will require interfacing with targeted cell-types without significant perturbation to the host environment. However, existing technologies are often non-specific and destructive, lacking specificity to communicate with dysfunctional cells within a complex network. Technologies with improved targeting capability, biocompatibility, and longevity may advance both therapeutics and understanding of cells within their native context. This symposium will explore recent progress in interfacing with complex biological systems through a materials perspective, largely focused on materials innovations in the development of modern macro- and nanoscale materials and devices to study and manipulate host biology. Covered topics will address how new materials have been developed to better interface with biological systems, specifically examining the following themes: (1) advanced biomedical devices, (2) nanoscale sensors and transducers, and (3) and functional molecular tools and therapeutics.
The first subtheme will focus on novel materials and devices interfaced within cellular networks. Talks will examine how a broad palette of materials can be integrated into devices with multiple functionalities to deliver electromagnetic stimuli and/or harvest biomolecular and electrical signals from their native environment. The second subtheme will focus on nanostructured materials that can actuate, record, or deliver therapeutics to cells. Nanotransducers powered by non-invasive modalities to manipulate cellular pathways will be discussed. As part of this subtheme, acoustic, magnetic, and electrical recording methods enabled by nanowires, nanotubes, vesicles, and other nanoscale materials will also be included. Additional topics may encompass nanotherapeutics to probe and treat diseases manifested within complex biological environments like the brain. Finally, the third subtheme will examine how synthetic molecules and polymers (e.g. voltage and small molecule fluorescent sensors), programmable biomolecules (peptides, proteins, DNA), and genetic engineering methods, can record, manipulate, or phenotype within biological systems.
The integration of interdisciplinary topics, broadly covering materials science, chemistry, biology, and electronics will be connected within this symposium to further the development of devices and materials that better interface with host biology. The hope is to raise awareness of significant challenges faced by the field and to inspire ideas and discussions on future approaches that may have maximal impact on society.