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Program Highlights

Mucin Glycans Regulate Microbial Virulence

A slimy layer of mucus serves as the first line of defense against problematic microbes like the bacterial pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa. We have identified mucins, the major gel-forming components of mucus, and their complex sugar structures (glycans) as protective molecules that suppress microbial virulence traits including toxin secretion, bacterial communication, and surface attachment.

Thermally Induced Surfactant Displacement to Induce Colloidal Gelation

Doyle has discovered a new way to thermally-induce gelation of nanoemulsions. They developed a platform wherein colloidal gelation is controlled by tuning repulsive interactions.

Tunable Persistent Random Walk in Swimming

Here we explain the molecular engine of droplet motion that gives rise to their persistent random walk. This result allows us to tune their swimming speed and turning frequency over a range that is much broader than that of solid active particles.

A hydrogen-bonded framework toolkit for molecular structure determination

MRSEC investigators reported that a versatile toolkit of guanidinium organosulfonate hydrogen-bonded host frameworks can form inclusion compounds with complex “stubborn” molecules that cannot be crystallized or form suitable single crystals for X-ray diffraction analysis by themselves, enabling determination of their molecular structure.

A general framework for nanoscale electromagnetism

The d parameters are a convenient parametrization for surface-related, quantum corrections. We  establish  a  systematic  approach  to measure the d parameter dispersion of a general two-material interface.

Voltage Control of Optical Properties by Ionic Gating

Using a simple device structure, it has been shown that electrical control of optical properties can be achieved through electrochemical hydrogen gating, sourced from moisture in the air.

Building Enduring Pathways in STEM: Incorporating Traditional Ways of Knowing in Materials Research

This unique partnership between Navajo Technical University and the Harvard MRSEC builds enduring pathways for undergraduate Native American students into STEM by including traditional Navajo  perspectives and methods of scientific inquiry in materials science research and education.

Shape-Shifting Lattices via Multimaterial 4D Printing

A team at the Harvard MRSEC led by Lakshminarayanan Mahadevan and Jennifer A. Lewis has created shape-shifting lattices by combining predictive design and multimaterial 4D printing.

Nanoscale Properties of MXene Membranes

MXenes are two-dimensional (2D) ceramics made of transition metal carbides and nitrides. Unlike other 2D ceramics, MXenes have inherently good conductivity and thus are promising for various applications. Probing the local physical properties of MXenes monolayers is important for the understanding of their functional performance. Nebraska MRSEC researchers in collaboration with their colleagues at Drexel University have developed an improved method for synthesis of monolayer membranes of Nb4C3Tx MXene.