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Tunable materials design through bioinspiration




1: Civil and Environmental Engineering

Faculty Supervisor:

Markus J. Buehler

Faculty email:


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Project Description

Biology has evolved materials with unparalleled mechanical properties including stiffness, toughness, and strength. Our lab is interested to study natural materials and translate them into biologically inspired engineering solutions. The Nereis worm jaw is one example of a stiff material found in marine worms, that remarkably yields its strength from no minerals and instead metal-coordinate bonds. In this UROP project, we aim to study under which conditions these metal-coordinate bonds impart such strength. Using computational simulation methods including molecular dynamics, coarse-graining and other approaches, the student will have an opportunity to explore how specific environmental conditions impact biological material strength. Through this project, the UROP will have an opportunity to learn about the intersection of biology and structural materials design, simulation methods, and how to develop independent project ideas.


Background in materials science, chemistry or related fields is advantageous.