The UMass team comprising Associate Professor Stephen Nonnenmann of the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Department, Associate Professor Jessica Schiffman of the Chemical Engineering Department, Professor Todd Emrick of Polymer Science and Engineering, and Professor Derek Lovley of Microbiology, along with Professor Arthi Jayaraman of Chemical Engineering / Materials Science at University of Delaware received a four-year, $1.75-million National Science Foundation 'Designing Materials to Revolutionize and Engineer our Future' (DMREF) award to study and construct a new class of soft and stretchable electronic devices that can be used in future healthcare, security, and communications applications.
The team will leverage their collective expertise to design and develop protein nanowire-matrix pairings that are both highly functional and easily manufactured. Development of such structures will pair molecular modeling (Jayaraman) with synthetic biology (Lovley) to determine amino acid sequences that not only provide conductivity, but also anchor points to integrate into the polymer matrices (Emrick) and flexible fabrics (Schiffman) developed in parallel. Nonnenmann will lead electronic and functional characterization of the nanocomposites and establish new mechanisms through his Nanoscale, Interfaces, Transport, and Energy Lab, which seeks to inform the design of materials through studies that combine in situ characterization, advanced synthesis, and theory of model interfaces. T