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Research Thrusts

Multidisciplinary Research

Chemistry, physics, biology, and engineering fields—to study how biological matter assembles to perform specific tasks, in hopes of eventually being able to engineer and develop innovations (from designer cells and tissue to novel diagnostic and therapeutic devices)

The NSF CREST Center for Cellular and Biomolecular Machines focuses on three specialized research areas: Biomolecular Machines, Macromolecular Assemblies and Hybrid Devices, and Cellular and Multicellular Systems.


Thrust 1 Biomolecular Machines

Proteins are true cellular nanomachines that perform sophisticated biological functions by self-assembling into dynamic 3D structures that use thermal energy to change shape in response to specific stimuli. Amid their many functions, proteins make for excellent nanoscale instruments.

Thrust 2 Macromoecular Assemblies and Hybrid Devices

The high rate of discovery in nanotechnology is permitting us to realize nanomaterials with interesting new properties that can be used for building hybrid devices in conjunction with biomolecules. Here we focus on several of these applications.

Thrust 3 Cellular and Multicellular Systems

Large scale assemblies composed of multiple cells are ubiquitous, ranging from tissue to biofilms, and exhibit striking emergent behaviors controlled by cell mechanics and cell-cell interactions.