Microbial Stress Gordon Research Conference

Prof Silberstein attended and presented a poster with Dr. Joy Zhang’s work at the GRC “Microbial Stress Response: Bacterial Mechanisms for Sensing, Responding and Adapting to Stress” last week.

Review Paper on Soft Ionics

How can soft polymer systems create devices that process information and interact with the world around them? That is the topic of a new review paper led by Max Tepermeister and with contribution from many members of the Silberstein lab and in collaboration with the Suntivich and Tian groups and published in Frontiers in Physics. Ionic polymers promise to underpin a new class of electronics that are soft, flexible and take advantage of the wide range of possible polymer functionalization. In this review, we present the underlying physical principles that govern the behavior of soft ionic materials
and devices, then we explore how soft ionic materials combine charged mobile species and tailored polymer structures to enable a wide array of functional devices, including flexible conductors, chemically specific sensors, bio-compatible interfaces, and deformable digital or analog signal processors. We identify the five key capabilities of ionic devices, and detail the cutting edge of each capability, bringing together findings from a range of research fields. Check out the supplementary animations we created for each device on our Youtube channel.

Congratulations to Joy and Hongyi!

Congratulations to PhD candidate Hongyi Cai for passing his A-exam last week and congratulations to Dr. Xinyue (Joy) Zhang for successfully defending her thesis!!!

Atkinson Venture Fund grant awarded for Engineered Living Materials

Prof. Silberstein is part of a winning Atkinson Venture Fund grant team. The interdisciplinary project is led by Prof. Rong Yang in the Chemical and Biological Engineering department at Cornell. This new ELMI project “Engineered Living Materials for Indoor Air Quality Control,” will use a hybrid approach of yeast and synthetic polymers to take on indoor air toxins. See the Cornell Chronicle article for the full story.


Part of the MMD lab is participating in the U.S. National Congress on Theoretical and Applied Mechanics this week.

Check out our talks on Wednesday 6/22: Srikar Srivatsa is speaking at 2:45pm in the “Mechanics of Architected Materials” session. Nikola Bosnjak is speaking at 4:45pm in the “Soft Matter Mechanics, Physics and Devices” session. Meredith Silberstein is speaking at 10:55am in the “Mechanics of Soft Matter: From Living Systems to Functional Composites” session.

Please also attend the sessions we’re co-organizing with Noy Cohen (Technion) and Shawn Chester (NJIT) on Mechanics of Polymeric Gels (TS5 and TS6). They’re Tuesday 6/21 starting at 1:45pm and 3:45pm.

Metamaterials paper published

Examining the impact of asymmetry in lattice-based mechanical metamaterials” is now published in Mechanics of Materials. This work was led by graduate student Srikar Srivatsa and was in collaboration with the Selva group at Texas A&M. In this study we use a generative algorithm to produce lattice-based metamaterials within a confined design space. We then mine that design space to find the broader set of mechanical properties enabled by fully asymmetric designs and to understand the physical mechanisms behind underlying these properties.

Congratulations MMD lab graduates!

Congratulations to Tiffany Chui, Shreya Gowda, and Anabel Sattler! Tiffany received a bachelors in Materials Science and Shreya and Anabel received bachelors in Mechanical Engineering.


Join Cornell University April 29th 10am-4pm for this year’s KK Wang Industry Day on materials design by additive manufacturing – a virtual symposium that merges industry and academia. The program will feature keynote talks, presentations from academic and industrial leaders, and a poster competition. Prof Silberstein will be talking about the MMD lab work on design of mechanical metamaterials enabled by additive manufacturing. For more information, please check out the event website. Please register to attend here.

New paper out in Advanced Materials Interfaces

The Research Article “Enabling Tunable Water-Responsive Surface Adaptation of PDMS via Metal-ligand Coordinated Dynamic Networks” is now published in Advanced Materials Interfaces. This work was led by Xinyue(Joy) Zhang. We demonstrated a new design to enable time-dependent adaptation of a polymer via dynamic functionalities. By embedding dynamic metal-ligand coordination into a PDMS matrix, a reversible hydrophobic to hydrophilic evolution with tunable extent and speed is realized on the surface when exposed to polar liquids. This work would not have been possible without an amazing collaboration with two groups: Ralph Crisci and Prof. Zhan Chen at University of Michigan, and Dr. John A. Finlay and Prof. Anthony S. Clare at Newcastle University.

Postdoc Fellowships in Engineered Living Materials open for applications, due May 10th

The Cornell Engineered Living Materials Institute (ELMI), directed by Meredith Silberstein, is seeking applicants for postdoctoral fellowships. Fellows will work with faculty affiliates to pursue their own original proposed research that aligns with ELMI objectives. Position and application details can be found here.

The ELMI is a bold new initiative at Cornell that reimagines a world in which materials are grown to address societal needs currently, insufficiently met, by engineering materials. We will utilize what biology is best at –growth, self-organization, multi-functionality, and harnessing alternative energy sources – to design materials, devices, and structures that are both more functional and more environmentally friendly than our current approaches. Achieving such a vision will require scientific, engineering, and design innovation. The field of Engineered Living Materials is multidisciplinary; applicants with expertise in all relevant disciplines (engineering, biological sciences, architecture, etc) are encouraged to apply.