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Engineering Biology: Giving New Life to Materials for Energy, Electronics, the Environment and Medicine

February 22, 2013 @ 8:00 pm - 9:30 pm


Organisms have been making exquisite inorganic materials for over 500 million years. Although these materials have many desired physical properties such as strength, regularity, and environmental benign processing, the types of materials that organisms have evolved to work with are limited. However there are many properties of living systems that could be potentially harnessed by researchers to make advanced technologies that are smarter, more adaptable, and that are synthesized to be compatible with the environment. One approach to designing future technologies which have some of these properties is to evolve organisms to work with a more diverse set of building blocks. These materials could be designed to address many scientific and technological problems in electronics, military, medicine, and energy applications. Examples include a virus enabled lithium ion rechargeable battery built at MIT that has many improved properties over conventional batteries, as well as materials for solar and catalysis. This talk will address conditions under which organisms first evolved to make materials and scientific approaches to move beyond naturally evolved materials to genetically imprint advanced technologies for energy.

Angela Belcher is a Materials Chemist with expertise in the fields of biomaterials, biomolecular materials, organic-inorganic interfaces and solid state chemistry. Her primary research focus is evolving new materials for energy, electronics and the environment. She received her B.S. in Creative Studies with an emphasis in biology from The University of California, Santa Barbara. She continued her education at UCSB and earned a Ph.D. in Inorganic Chemistry (1997). Following a year of postdoctoral research in electrical engineering at UCSB, Dr. Belcher joined the faculty at The University of Texas at Austin in the Department of Chemistry in 1999. She joined the faculty at MIT in 2002 and now holds the W.M. Keck Chair in Energy. In 2002, she founded the company Cambrios Technologies, Inc., and in 2007 she founded Siluria Technologies, Inc.

Dr. Belcher’s work has been published in many prestigious scientific journals including Science and Nature, and has been reported in the popular press including Time, Fortune, Forbes, Discover, Scientific American, Rolling Stone, The New York Times, Washington Post, Business Week and The Wall Street Journal.

Engineering Biology: Giving New Life to Materials for Energy,Electronics, the Environment and Medicine
Dr. Angela Belcher, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Friday, February 22, 2013 @ 8 p.m.
Wilson Hall, Ramsey Auditorium
Fermi National Laboratory, Batavia, IL
Open to the public.  Tickets Р$7 available on-line or at 630-840-2787.


February 22, 2013
8:00 pm - 9:30 pm


Illinois Science Council


Fermilab, Wilson Hall
Road a-1
Batavia, IL 60510 United States