Nano and Mesoscale Organization and Mechanics ofBiomolecular and Bioinspired Materials This symposium will focus on multi-scale mechanics in biomolecular materials as found in natural and living systems and/or bioinspired engineered material systems. A common research thrust is the field of biomimicry – that is, using ideas from Nature as a design guide to solve a technological problem. Through continuous processes of trial and error and self-selectivity (more commonly known as evolution), Nature has successfully refined living organisms, processes, and materials, acting as both an astute materials scientist and efficient engineer. At the molecular scale, for example, semi-flexible molecules such as DNA exhibit entropic elasticity due to the unfolding of a highly convoluted structure, in stark contrast to traditional engineered systems where such foldamers are yet to be creatively utilized. The complexity of biological materials commonly arises from the seamless integration of multiple material components and precise pairing of molecular components via self-assembly. In comparison to engineered composites, Nature commonly integrates both structure and material across multiple scales, such that that emerging composite cannot be described by classical formulations, due to complementary and synergistic interactions, where the union is more than the sum of its parts. Understanding how such materials are composed and behave at the nanoscale and mesoscale is critical if we wish to advance the development of biocompatible materials, de novo biomimetic systems, and understand the behavior of biological organs. The subject materials can be materials with biological origin (protein materials, cellulose, chitin, DNA etc.) and well as synthetic macromolecules that aim to mimic biological structure and/or functionality. This symposium aims to bring together researchers investigating various aspects of multi-scale mechanics of materials for application in science and engineering, as well as demonstrate the understanding of biological materials, biomolecules, biomaterials, bioinspired engineered systems, and the potential integration of biological and non-biological materials. Topics range from experimental approaches, theoretical and computational modeling, as well as new tools for characterization and design of such complexsystems. In particular, we are interested in the underlying mechanical and functional roles of multi-phase materials, their assembly and behaviors. Relevant topics include and are not limited to:

  • Multi-scale experiments, simulation and theory with a particular focus on intregrative and predictive approaches
  • Multi-scale synthesis, characterization and modeling of hybrid materials that incorporate biological building blocks and/or functionality into engineered materials
  • Self-assembly, phase-behavior and functional morphodynamics of materials at the nanoscale
  • Novel bioinspired or biomimetic synthetic systems
  • Nanoscale or mesoscale physics of interfaces in biology and engineered systems, including hybrid systems composed of biological and synthetic nanoscale components
  • Development of experimental tools and computational methods for modeling, analysis and synthesis of biomolecular materials.


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Atomistic simulation and modeling of the interface between -cellulose nanocrystal elementary fibrils

Robert Sinko, Northwestern University, United States
Sinan Keten, Northwestern University, United States

Computational modeling approach to predicting the shape and mechanical properties of DNA-based nanostructures Do-Nyun Kim, Seoul National University, Republic of Korea

Effect of PEG conjugation on entropy driven self-assembly of coiled coils

Elham Hamed, Northwestern University, United States
Danielle Ma, Northwestern University, United States
Sinan Keten, Northwestern University, United States

Functional analysis of the micro/nanostructures of dragonfly wing veins

Hongxiao Zhao, Tongji University, China
Zheng Zhong, Tongji University, China
Yajun Yin, Tsinghua University, China

Graphene oxide based functional hierarchical materials

Krishanu Nandy, Northwestern University, United States
Zhi Anh, Northwestern University, United States
SonBinh Nguyen, Northwestern University, United States
Karl Putz, Northwestern University, United States
L. Catherine Brinson, Northwestern University, United States

Investigation into the environment and temperature dependent nanomechanical properties of the shallow water shrimp - (Penaeus spp.) exoskeleton

Devendra Verma, Purdue University, West Lafayette, United States
Vikas Tomar, Purdue University, West Lafayette, United States

Kinetics versus thermodynamics dichotomy and growth -mechanisms in linear self-assembly of mixed nanoblocks

Sinan Keten, Northwestern University

Mechanics of bioinspired flexible composites: experiments, -simulations, and analytical solutions

Stephan Rudykh, Technion – Israel Institute of Technology
Mary Boyce, Columbia University, United States

Potential energy surface-based atomistic model for the unfolding of protein at experimental timescales

Harold Park, Boston University

Quantifying Cooperativity in Mutated Collagen

Steven Cranford, Northeastern University, United States
Kenny Kwan, Northeastern University, United States