ERC Consolidator Grant
DYNAPOL – Modeling approaches toward bioinspired dynamic materials
The DYNAPOL project will develop multiscale molecular models and use advanced computational simulation and machine learning techniques to discover the fundamental chemical-physical principles to learn how to design new classes of artificial materials with bio-inspired dynamic properties, or similar to those of living materials.
Description of the research project
DYNAPOL will explore new routes to design new types of artificial materials for various technological applications. It will use innovative chemical-physical concepts, different from those on which technological materials are typically based, and exploit self-assembly properties. The idea is to take inspiration from nature and how it builds complex materials possessing fascinating properties, such as the ability to actively respond to different types of external stimuli: environmental (temperature, salt concentrations, pressure), biological (specific interactions with proteins or tissues), chemical and physical. Examples of similar natural supramolecular materials are microtubules or protein filaments, which can reconfigure in response to specific inputs.
In order to design bioinspired artificial polymeric materials it is necessary to understand in detail the molecular principles that control their dynamic behavior, and to learn the relationships existing between the chemical structure of the constitutive self-assembling building blocks and the dynamic properties of the assemblies that these form across various spatio-temporal scales. To this end, the DYNAPOL project will use multiscale molecular models, advanced molecular simulation techniques and machine learning. The models obtained will be validated through continuous comparison with experimental data from various international collaborations. This is a highly multidisciplinary research with a pioneering character, which will avail of the close collaboration between chemists, physicists, engineers and computer scientists.
DYNAPOL is a fundamental research project that aims at exploring approaches and trace new routes toward innovative technological materials. The results of this project will impact various research fields and technological areas of high current interest, such as biomedical, pharmaceutical, energy, chemical. At the same time it will develop new knowledge allowing to explore applications not yet foreseen in the field of innovative materials and complex molecular systems.