Gordon Research Conferences
Meeting Details

Multifunctional Materials and Structures
Gordon Research Conference

Bridging the Gap Between Biological and Synthetic Systems


January 14-19, 2018


Four Points Sheraton / Holiday Inn Express
Ventura, CA Site Information


James P. Thomas & Nancy R. Sottos

Vice Chair:
Daniel Inman

Application Deadline

Applications for this meeting must be submitted by December 17, 2017. Please apply early, as some meetings become oversubscribed (full) before this deadline. If the meeting is oversubscribed, it will be stated here. Note: Applications for oversubscribed meetings will only be considered by the Conference Chair if more seats become available due to cancellations.

Meeting Description

Multifunctional design encompasses materials, structures and/or material systems that have the ability to perform multiple functions through judicious combinations of structural properties and at least one additional functional capability as dictated by the system application requirements. Multifunctionality is ubiquitous in biological systems and leads to systems that are highly efficient material and energy-wise. Bio-systems are synthesized at a molecular level with a limited palate of material ingredients resulting in multiscale hierarchical material architectures with active, coupled chemical, electrical, mechanical processes and signaling. However, there is a large gap in our current understanding of how to translate and scale the science of multifunctionality in biological/natural systems for creating larger-scale synthetic materials and structures with unique multifunctional capabilities and new levels of performance. Visionary examples include "autonomic" structures that can sense, diagnose and respond to external stimuli, "adaptive" structures allowing reconfiguration of functionality, shape, mechanical, and electromagnetic properties, and "self-sustaining" systems with integrated energy storage and harvesting capabilities. This conference will focus on addressing the scientific issues underpinning advancements in: the translation of model biological functions to synthetic systems, signaling (e.g. chemical, electrical, mechanical), self-learning, chemical transport and transformation for control of mechanical properties, the role of interfaces and design/fabrication approaches for creating multi-scale hierarchical material systems with multifunctional performance.


Gordon Research Conferences
National Science Foundation
Office of Naval Research

Preliminary Program

The topics and speakers for the conference sessions are displayed below (italics denote discussion leaders). The Conference Chair is currently developing their detailed program, which will include the complete meeting schedule, as well as the talk titles for all speakers. The detailed program will be available by September 14, 2017. Please check back for updates.

  • Morphing Materials and Structures
    (Gregory Reich / Ray Baughman / David Lentink)
  • Bioinspired Design for Multifunctionality
    (Clement Sanchez / Martin Bechthold / Martin Dunn / Daniel McAdams)
  • Bioinspired Sensing and Signaling
    (Friedrich Barth / John Rogers / Stephen Sarles)
  • Biological and Synthetic Regeneration
    (Aaron Esser-Kahn / Peter Fratzl / Molly Stevens / Scott White)
  • Additive Manufacturing for Multifunctional Systems
    (Andre Studart / Julia Greer / Ryan Wicker)
  • Smart Surfaces and Interfaces
    (Ivan Parkin / Joanna Aizenberg / Haeshin Lee / Kathryn Wahl)
  • Organic-Inorganic Hybrids
    (Helmut Cölfen / Lara Estroff / Olli Ikkala)
  • Functional Architectures via Folding and Origami
    (Kaushik Bhattacharya / L. Mahadevan / Max Shtein / Johannes Overvelde)
  • Reconfigurable Soft Assemblies
    (Giulia Lanzara / Rebecca Kramer / Robert Shepherd)
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