Team:MIT summary



Living materials are powerful organic tools; they’re defined by their ability to adapt, to grow, to respond. Your skeleton becomes denser in regions of higher pressure; imagine a skyscraper or a bridge built of material with same capabilites!!

When summer began, we imagined creating tiny biomaterial factories. We wanted to touch a plate of cells and watch them turn to bone. We envisioned a bacterial colony, sensing a pattern of radiation and synthesizing a 3D biomaterial composed only of interlinked particles of virus.

So what have we accomplished towards these goals?
  • We have a working synthetic circuit, capable of sensing radiation in bacterial cells, one that we’ve tinkered with to minimize cell death.
  • We’ve infected bacteria with modified phage to create ‘hairy’ cells, and we’ve added pairs of linkers to phage proteins (via genetic fusion) that could allow them to polymerize.
  • In the mammalian system, we have cloned mechano-sensitive promoters and tested them in microfluidic devices.
  • We’ve induced stem cells to differentiate into bone.

  • We have a working synthetic circuit, capable of turning a small sensory pulse into a long term differentiation program.

This project is just the beginning; we’ve created the groundwork for a toolkit that anybody can use, one that will allow us to link sensory input to biomaterial creation. The system that we’ve built is meant to be expanded on, and our results can act as the basis for future exploration into of world of 3D organic material creation.