1. Living materials and biomineralized composites
Living organisms are using elements in their environment to fabricate materials with impressive mechanical/optical/electrical properties, together with sensing and responsive functions. For example, mollusc nacre shows excellent mechanical toughness due to its layered brick-and-mortar structure. Inspired by this, we use microorganisms to fabricate biomimetic composite materials combining high stiffness and toughness, following a sustainable approach. We also make light responsive engineered living materials composed of microalgae.

Collaborations: Elvin Karana (TU Delft), Markus Linder (AALTO, Finland), Tom Ellis (Imperial College London, UK), Kunal Masania (TU Delft), Anne Meyer (Univ. Rochester, USA), Amir Zadpoor (TU Delft), An-Wu Xu (USTC, China), Filipe Natalio (Weizmann Institute).

Balasubramanian S#, Yu K#, Meyer AS, Karana E, Aubin-Tam ME*, Bioprinting of regenerative photosynthetic living materials Adv. Funct. Mater., 2011162, 2021

Yu KBalasubramanian S, Pahlavani H, Mirzaali M, Zadpoor A, Aubin-Tam ME, Spiral honeycomb microstructured bacterial cellulose for increased strength and toughness ACS Appl. Mater. Interfaces, 2020

2. Mechanical processes at the cell membrane
We design, develop and use biophysical assays to track dynamical cellular processes occurring at the cell membrane. We study artificial cell membranes as well as living (algal and bacterial) cells. Our interest is in the study of individual biomolecules, cells and membranes under external physical/chemical stimuli. This, in the hope of understanding the molecular mechanisms driving biological processes.

Collaborations: Andreas Engel, Daniel Tam (Lab for Aero & Hydrodynamics, TU Delft).

Amador G, van Dijk D, Kieffer R, Aubin-Tam ME*, Tam D*
Hydrodynamic shear dissipation and transmission in lipid bilayers
Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci., 2021

Dols-Perez A#, Marin V#, Amador GJ#, Kieffer R, Tam D, Aubin-Tam ME
Artificial cell membranes interfaced with optical tweezers: a versatile microfluidics platform for nanomanipulation and mechanical characterization
ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces, 2019
#equally contributing authors