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2015 MRS Spring Meeting


GG7.07 - The Nexus of Energy, Water, Health and Food: Thinking Small to Solve Global Quality of Life Challenges


Apr 9, 2015 3:45pm ‐ Apr 9, 2015 4:15pm

Description

In the past decade and half, we have gained incredible insight into the workings of Nature at the smallest scales as we developed the ability to manipulate, control and interrogate matter at the atomic scale. But much of the promise of establishing new industry and economies founded on these scientific achievements has not come to pass. This is all about to change. With the foundations laid, the next 15 years is destined to see the application of these scientific advances into technologies that directly improve the human condition creating both economic and societal wealth. The ability to use machines to manipulate matter a single molecule at a time renders many things possible that were impossible before. Living systems do this on a regular basis. The core challenge is how to transform a labile molecule that exists in a fragile living organism and to transfer that functionality into a stable system that is economically scalable. The most significant difficulties revolve around environmental stability and the inherent structural limitations of the molecule. Ingenuity Lab was created to bring together researchers from many disciplines to capitalize on the molecular interactions found in living systems and, through molecular manipulation, incorporate this functionality into complex systems to yield technology for solving many of the worlds societal challenges. Presented is the concept of convergent technology, the intersection of the precision assembly of matter, nanotechnology, coupled with the functional building blocks of nature, biotechnology, and fused by the network flow of spatiotemporal information, informatics. We will present the details of the technological demands and the results of efforts associated with the production of a new class of functional material and devices. Elements of the discussion will include the genetic engineering of active biological molecules into engineering building blocks and the incorporation of �metabolism� into engineered devices and materials through precision assembly of these molecules into stable �active� materials. Finally, we will provide exemplars using these building blocks to engineer systems that address issues surrounding energy, environment and human health: the societal grand challenges of our age.

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