Research

The research focus of the Laboratory for Advanced Biopolymers (L.A.B.) lies at the interface between biomaterials science, self-assembly and advanced fabrication to engineer new materials that work at the biotic/abiotic interface. In particular, the research group  is striving to bring biomaterials-based innovation in agriculture, food security and food safety. Other interests of the L.A.B. are the engineering of biointerfaces  and the preservation of biological materials in anhydrous environments.

Nanofabrication of hierarchical materials

We are designing new structural biopolymers and new nanomanufacturing methods to direct the assembly of structural proteins in hierarchically mesostructured materials. By using nature building block, we are engineering the next generation of bioactive materials that can respond to the environment adapting performance and response to external stimuli. The research is centered on  the definition of new rules to design functional, meso-structured constructs with engineered forms and functions.

Biointerfaces and biopreservation

We are developing a basic research effort that grows from the general theme of biopolymer-induced preservation of biomolecules and bioentities to design new materials to be used for sustainable agriculture, food preservation and food spoilage detection.

Food waste

One quarter of global freshwater consumption is used producing food that is never eaten.

The food loss every year could feed an estimated 1.6 billion people globally.

Each year, one third of all the food produced for human consumption never makes it from farmer to consumers.

The L.A.B is working to design new solutions to enhance the preservation of perishable food outside the cold chain, with a particular focus on low-tech solutions that may positively impact rural areas.

Food security

We will reach a population of almost 10 billion people by 2050, which will put a strain to the food production system and will demand an increase in the inputs needs for crop production.

The L.A.B is working to design new solutions to enhance crop yield and production while minimizing the environmental impact of agriculture. 

Food safety  

1 in 6 American each year suffers a food borne disease.

2 Millions annual death in emerging areas due to food borne infections.

$80 billions annual cost of losses and illness caused by food borne disease.

The L.A.B. is designing novel strategies to early detect spoilage in food by combining additive manufacturing with the directed assembly of biopolymers hybrids to fabricate easy-to-use, fast and cost-effective biosensors.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Department of Civil and Envrionmental Engineering 77 Massachusetts Avenue, Room 1-348 Cambridge, MA 02139-4307 (617) 253-7113

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