Earlier this year, our lab had the honor of traveling to Washington D.C. to receive the Grand Prize in The NSF 2026 Idea Machine competition. For this challenge, each team was tasked with formulating and presenting a “Big Idea” – a big-picture vision for how advancing a cutting-edge research topic could influence our future and change the world for the better. The team’s Big Idea – spearheaded by postdocs Anna Duraj-Thatte and Avinash Manjula-Basavanna – centered around engineered living materials, and how they could make our buildings, factories and infrastructure greener, smarter and more efficient. To learn more about the team’s submission and watch their concept video, visit their NSF 2026 Idea Machine entry page.

For more information, please visit the full NSF press release. (Picture credit: Bill Petros Photography)

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