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NU-MRSEC intellectual merit primarily resides within its two Interdisciplinary Research Groups (IRGs):

IRG-1: Bioprogrammable Materials via Cell-Free Synthetic Biology. IRG-1 aims to establish cell-free bioprogrammable materials, a new class of bioinspired composites whose properties autonomously adapt in response to specific spatiotemporal cues via the collective activity of embedded artificial cells.  These bioprogrammable materials will possess autonomous properties such as self-healing, on-demand cargo release, degradation, dynamic mechanical property modulation, biomineralization, and shape-morphing.  IRG-1 will establish a new paradigm for enhancing the performance and capabilities fo soft active materials by endowing them with the adaptive multi-functionality of biological systems, thus accelerating advances in sustainable agriculture, soft robotics, water treatment, smart clothing, food storage, and wound healing.

IRG-2: Orchestrated Iontronics via Dynamic Hybrid Ionic/Electronic Conductors.  IRG-2 aims to deliver "Materials for AI" by designing hybrid ionic/electronic conductors (HIECs) based on organic materials and inorganic layered materials that mimic biological neuronal behaviors with broad implications for neuromorphic computing, bioelectronics, and energy storage technologies.  By undestanding and leveraging spatiotemporal cooperativity of electronic and ionic processes, IRG-2 will realize neuron-inspired phenomena in HIECs such as adaptive synaptogenesis, sensory transduction, tunable potentiation/plasticity, and optogenetic responses.

In addition to the IRGs, seed groups are supported by the MRSEC.  Seed groups focus their research on new and emerging areas of interest, allowing the center to respond promptly to the latest scientific developments.

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