News & Announcements

Biomedical engineers from Duke University have demonstrated a new approach to making self-assembled biomaterials that relies on protein modifications and temperature. The hybrid approach allows researchers to control self-assembly more precisely, which may prove useful for a variety of biomedical applications from drug delivery to wound healing.

The research appears online on March 19 in Nature Chemistry.

Biomaterials have broad applications across the fields of tissue engineering, regenerative medicine and drug delivery. Protein- and peptide-based materials are attractive for these applications because they are non-toxic, biodegradable and have a well-defined composition. But these biomaterials are limited to the 20 amino acids found in nature.

One strategy to expand the chemical diversity of protein-based materials is post-translational modification (PTM), a powerful set of reactions that nature uses to chemically transform proteins after they are synthesized from genes. PTM can modify specific amino acids in proteins or add non-protein structures, such as sugars and fatty acids.  

“Nature combines different chemical alphabets to make very sophisticated materials,” said Ashutosh Chilkoti, the chair of the BME department at Duke and primary author of the paper. “One way it does this is by combining the amino acid vocabulary of proteins with other very different alphabets -- sugars and fats are just two examples of the many hundreds of such PTMs. As materials scientists, we have not taken advantage of nature’s methods to make hybrid materials, and this provided the inspiration for this research.” Read More

Michael Rubinstein, a professor in Duke University’s Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science (MEMS) with joint appointments in Biomedical Engineering, Chemistry and Physics, was named the 2018 Bingham Medalist of the Society of Rheology.

The award recognizes Rubinstein’s contributions to the theory of rheology of complex fluids and polymers and his intellectual leadership in both industry and academia that has helped bridge the practical, engineering science of rheology with molecular physics.

Rheology involves the study of the flow of complex fluids. Over the last 50 years the field has transformed from an applied branch of engineering focused on optimizing materials processing to a fundamental molecular science that allows researchers to design molecular components for complex solids and liquids with the desired elasticity and viscosity at particular deformation rates. Through his work in the field, Rubinstein has been able to develop molecular models of diseases like thromboembolism and explain why the buildup of mucus by cystic fibrosis isn’t cleared from the lungs, allowing researchers and clinicians to design better treatments for these ailments. Read More

The Research Triangle MRSEC presents its annual outreach event titled "The Material Science of Food and Drink". Keynote speaker will be Patrick Charbonneau, Associate Professor of Chemistry, Duke University on "The Chemistry and Physics of Cooking". As a specialist in soft matter, a subdiscipline of chemistry that deals with the physical aspects of liquids, gels, and other biological matter, Charbonneau's lecture focuses on scientific theory and food-centric demos. Students can apply the concepts learned to their own culinary creations. “Not everything tastes great,” says Charbonneau, “but everything is scientifically interesting.”

10:00am - 1:00pm - Various Scientific Demos by PhD students!

11:30am - Keynote speaker presentation

Download "The Chemistry and Physics of Cooking" PresentatioN »


There will also be 8+ hands on scientific demos like Edible DNA, Science of Jello and Liquid Nitrogen Ice Cream led by graduate students. If you have any specific questions, please contact Katie at 

Free Parking - Bryan Center Parking Garage: Please tell parking attendant that you are going to the NC Science Festival in Teer

FREE & OPEN TO THE PUBLIC: Saturday, April 8th from 9am - 1pm!

NCSU Centennial Campus, Engineering Building 1 - 911 Partners Way, Raleigh - Free Parking in the Oval Deck

**Workshops are at full capacity at this time. There may be room for drop-ins for the Potter's Penguin Project at 10am, 11am and Noon.

**Hands-on demos are ongoing from 9am to 1pm. There will be lots of fun for all!

The College of Engineering at North Carolina State University will open its doors to anyone with an interest in science and engineering during an outreach event focusing on Art & Design within science. In addition to ongoing scientific demonstrations like Liquid Nitrogen Ice Cream, 3D printing, Instant Worms, Edible DNA, and The Science of Jello, we will have three special activities as follows:

  • Artist Liz Paley: The Potters' Penguin Project - learn about global warming effects on penguin populations. Create a clay penguin to add to this community art display! LEARN MORE
  • Artist Jeannette Brossart: Learn about the art and design of making mosaics AND take home your own creation! (*limited to 30 students each session) LEARN MORE
  • NCSU Faculty member Radmila Sazdanovic: From Plato, through Da Vinci to knotted polyhedra-art design through math. Each participant will get the chance to assemble a sculpture by a mathematician and artist Rinus Roelofs

Pre-registration encouraged, please CLICK HERE.

This event is hosted by the Research Triangle Materials Research Science and Engineering Center (RT-MRSEC), which has faculty and students at NCSU, Duke, UNC-Chapel Hill and NCCU, will be held on Saturday, April 8th from 9am to 1pm on NC State’s Centennial Campus, Engineering Building 1 at 911 Partners Way - Free parking in the Oval Parking Deck just across the street. 

“Since its inception, the RT-MRSEC has been involved very actively in various forms of public outreach. We do so for multiple reasons,” said Dr. Jan Genzer, Celanese Professor in CBE and MRSEC co-director. “First, we constantly strive to increase participation and diversity in STEM fields through education and mentoring of K-12 and undergraduate students. In a sense, this is a great recruiting event for all Triangle universities and the MRSEC in particular. We also put a lot of effort toward enhancing public awareness of materials research through lectures and hands-on demonstrations (many of which we have developed ourselves). We conduct those in middle and high schools, at local colleges and in various public places. The NC Science Festival represents a true hallmark of our activities in public outreach.”