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Controlling nature's patterns

Biology is the most prolific inventor and producer of complex functional materials - how can we do the same?

I am interested in understanding how nature controls patterns in the structures it makes. The ridges of the waterlily leaf are naturally evenly-spaced, creating a leaf that is strong, light and efficient. This pattern is generated by an interplay between signalling and physical forces controlling the behaviour of the individual cells in the leaf. Most impressively, all the information needed to produce the leaf is encoded within any given cell of the leaf in its genetic code.

In my research I am interested in understanding to generate patterns through signalling and physical forces, and how this process can be regulated using genetics. A better understanding of these processes could allow us to develop novel biomaterials with tailored properties and structure. These materials could be produced incredibly sustainably as they could be recycled with the same processes that nature uses to recycle.

I am in particular studying a computational model of pattern formation in a bacterial colony. I am using this computational simulation to design new pattern forming genetic architectures that would be engineered into synthetic bacterium. This would be the first step towards designing custom biomaterials.

Unlocking nature’s methods for producing materials would open exciting new routes for producing clever materials that can be produced sustainably nearly indefinitely.

Matthew Griffiths

NanoDTC PhD Student Cohort 2013

Department of Chemistry

 

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Call for Mini Project proposals

Jun 19, 2019

The NanoDTC invites Mini Project proposals from Cambridge Academics for its incoming c2019 cohort. Submission deadline is 11th Oct 2019.

Kevin Lim's paper chosen as the Editor's Pick in APL Materials

Mar 15, 2019

Kevin Lim (c2017) is first author of a paper chosen as an Editor's Pick in APL Materials. The work was done as part of his mini project.

40 new EPSRC studentships for NanoDTC

Feb 04, 2019

We are pleased to announce that EPSRC have awarded a new Nano CDT grant of 40 studentships for training the next generation of interdisciplinary innovative nanoscientists

Midi+PhD Project Proposals from Cambridge Academics

Dec 19, 2018

We are now accepting project proposals for Midi (May-Jul 2019) + PhD projects (starting Oct 2019) for our c2018 students. Deadline 18 Feb.