Our lab seeks to understand and harness nature’s own processes in order to design technologically important materials and devices for energy, the environment, and medicine. Ancient organisms have evolved to make exquisite nanostructures like shells and glassy diatoms. Using directed evolution, our lab engineers organisms to grow and assemble novel hybrid organic-inorganic electronic, magnetic, and catalytic materials. In doing so, we capitalize on many of the wonderful properties of biology – using only non-toxic materials, employing self-repair mechanisms, self-assembling precisely and over longer ranges, adapting and evolving to become better over time. These materials have been used in applications as varied as solar cells, batteries, medical diagnostics and basic single molecule interactions related to disease.

Awards and Achievements

  • National Academy of Engineering
  • Lemelson–MIT Prize
  • MacArthur Fellowship