We seek to develop streamlined approaches to scalable materials manufacturing using custom biopolymers. We are developing these materials to be more sustainable and better-performing replacements for plastics, coatings, and building materials.
Our entire built environment relies on fabrication processes that are energy intensive, require non-renewable resources, and create pollution. It is imperative that we revolutionize our approach to materials manufacturing and make better use of renewable energy and degradable raw materials. Biology provides a template for how to construct a circular materials economy that relies on abundant, renewably sourced raw materials and degrades or recycles materials to close their life-cycle loop. However, though humans have always made use of biologically sourced raw materials, naturally occurring biopolymers may not have the all functionality needed to replace synthetic polymers in all applications. Our approach leverages the BIND platform to create materials from customized biopolymers whose structure is tailored to specific applications. Current projects in the group are focused combining BIND with scalable materials fabrication techniques and holistically renewable molecular building blocks.