On July 16-17, the Biosciences and Energy Sciences Areas, hosted an internal workshop to discuss and identify paths forward for biomaterials research that would enable the creation of new materials with performance-advantaged properties to address national scale challenges. This workshop continues the program development efforts established through the recent Advanced Biogenic Chemicals and Materials Laboratory-Directed Research and Development initiative established at Berkeley Lab in 2017. The event was co-organized by Jay Keasling, chief science and technology officer of Biosciences, Peter Fischer, deputy director of that Materials Science Division, and Caroline Ajo-Franklin, staff scientist in the Molecular Foundry and Molecular Biophysics and Integrated Bioimaging Divisons.
The Biomaterials workshop was focused on three themes: grand challenges for the development of biomaterials, research programs that could address those challenges, and capabilities that could be leveraged (or would need to be built) to create those programs. Workshop participants discussed the workshop themes in three sets of breakout groups structured to ensure diverse scientific perspectives. At the end of each session, the whole group assembled and listened to report-outs from each group.
Forty-two attendees participated in the workshop, 35 of whom represented four of Berkeley Lab’s six research areas. Researchers from University of California, Berkeley (UC Berkeley) were in attendance in addition to four outside speakers invited to provide inspirational presentations on their biomaterials products or research. These speakers were: David Breslauer, chief scientific officer and co-founder of Bolt Threads; Arash Komeili, associate professor of Plant and Microbial Biology at UC Berkeley; Eli Groban, head of science at Autodesk Life Sciences; and Maneesh Gupta, research materials engineer from the Air Force Research Laboratory. The workshop report is in progress and expected to be completed and released in early September.