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EMERGE Report Summary

Project ID: 258775
Funded under: FP7-IDEAS-ERC
Country: United Kingdom

Final Report Summary - EMERGE (Enzyme Driven Molecular Nanosystems)

The objective of this ERC project was to establish a new generation of soft materials that mimic some of the behaviors and properties found in living systems, but are much simpler. Living systems are complex mixtures of molecules. The features of life emerge when these molecules form networks that assemble, respond and undergo chemical reactions. As a result, biological cells, and functional tissues respond to their environment- they can change their properties and functions as a result of active communication between the components that they are made of. We use the same design paradigm- combining reactivity and self-assembly of mixtures of molecules- to achieve new functional materials. These materials open up new opportunities in diverse areas, including medicine and manufacture. Examples of applications of this technology are materials that change shape and form a tightening network when they encounter cancer cells, surfaces that present signals to control stem cell differentiation and materials that change their flow characteristics when exposed to sound or light. The ERC project has brought us closer to the ultimate aim of making materials where building blocks but importantly also the information transfer between them gives rise to new features currently only found in biological structures, such as the brain.

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United Kingdom
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