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Program Activities

Research Themes

The IGERT program does not have strict disciplinary divisions, but the research is organized into four broad areas: Materials, Controls, Structures and Biocomponents, each represented by faculty from several departments.

Materials Development and Characterization
Developing novel soft materials for use in moving devices, construction of material-based actuators, sensors, scaffolds and structures.
Team leader: Kaplan; Main participants: Dorfmann, Panzer, Thomas, Perry, Sokolov

Microscale Sensors and Systems Lab,
Prof. Robert White, Tufts University
Control Systems
Understanding the control of movement (neuromechanics) in soft animals, modeling complex tissue mechanics, computer simulation of soft material structures, co-evolutionary development of motor systems, design of communications protocols and motion planning/navigation of devices.
Team leader: Trimmer; Main participants: Börgers, Dorfmann, Hassoun, Koomson, Peattie, Rife, Scheutz, Sonkusale, Tytell, Messner

Structural Design, Device Fabrication and Deployment
Materials and Controls findings (including automated designs from co-evolved soft systems) will be integrated to develop useful devices from micro- to macroscopic size scales. This will include building sensors, actuators and electronic systems using soft materials.
Team leader: White; Main participants: Leisk, Dario, Koomson, Rife, Rogers, Sonkusale, Trimmer

Biocomponents, Tissue Engineering and Biomorphic Devices
Biosynthetic robots will be created by directing cellular behavior, using biophysical control of developmental and regenerative pathways, to produce structures and artificial tissues, and to enable auto-repair and damage-sensing control mechanisms.
Team leader: Levin; Main participants: Kaplan, Peattie, Perry, Trimmer, Tytell