Bioinspired materials are materials that are designed or assembled using the inspiration of biology as a guide. Biological systems have developed exquisite ways of assembling functional materials to achieve goals such as sensing, secretion, motion, and response. In the field of Bioinspired Materials, scientists from many different backgrounds use chemistry, biochemistry, materials science and mathematics to design new materials that have the structure of biological systems, but which can achieve new goals, such as motion or communication. The goal of the proposed work is to sponsor a meeting as part of the Gordon Reseeacrh Conferences on Bioinspired Materials. The meeting will be held in Les Diablerets, Switzerland, June 7-12, 2020. A significant number of the participants will be U.S. researchers, and 2/3 of the meeting partcipants are early stage investigators (graduate students, postdoctoral associates, and early stage professors). Gordon Research Conferences are week-long immersive experiences in which cutting edge, unpublished science is presented, with long question and answer periods, poster sessions, discussion of science over meals, and social engagement between sessions. This particular meeting will also have a Gordon Research Seminar, two days before the main meeting, for solely graduate students and postdoctoral associates to present their work, and a Power Hour, dedicated to discussion the main challenges for women in science. In all, the meeting is designed to address the important ideas and concepts in the field of Bioinspired Materials by international leaders in the field, with significant participation by a new generation of scientists.

2. Technical Abstract.

The emerging, interdisciplinary field of Bioinspired Materials focuses on developing a fundamental understanding of the synthesis, directed self-assembly and hierarchical organization of natural occurring materials, and uses this understanding to design new synthetic materials whose structure, properties and function and response mimic those of natural materials or living matter. The fundamental concepts behind bioinspired design are becoming increasingly integrated into a wide range of materials and devices intended for the industrial, biological, medical, military and energy sectors, and represent a core focus of research activity of several programs at NSF. Planned sessions include Protocell Engineering (both a Keynote and an Early Career Investigator session), Novel Membrane Design, Active Matter and Motility, Membraneless Organelles, Functional Bioinspired Assemblies, Peptide & Protein Assembly, Tissues & Organoids, and Immune Engineering. These are important current concepts in biomaterials that are at the forefront of our discipline. The meeting will focus on the fundamental challenges of the design of bioinspired materials.

This proposal is to support the registration of 37 participants in the Gordon Research Conference on Bioinspired Materials. The format and structure of the GRC is designed for immersion of scientists into new and emerging concepts in Biomaterials Science – with an emphasis on breaking results and unpublished data - through long question and answer periods, interactive discussion, significant poster sessions and social activities between sessions. This particular meeting will also have a Gordon Research Seminar, two days before the main meeting, for solely graduate students and post-doctoral associates to present their work, and a Power Hour on “Strategies for leveling the playing field for the advancement of women in science,” dedicated to a discussion on the main challenges for women in science. The emphasis on early stage investigators and underrepresented groups will significantly enhance the broader impact of this meeting.

This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.

National Science Foundation (NSF)
Division of Materials Research (DMR)
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Steve Smith
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Gordon Research Conferences
West Kingston
United States
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