Welcome to the Center for Biologically Inspired Materials & Material Systems

Taking their inspiration from the "soft and wet" natural world, engineers and scientists are designing new tools and devices that aim at practical applications. The goal is to "reverse engineer" scores of millions of years of natural evolution.

Over this span, molecules have assembled themselves into cells and cells have organized into plants, animals and the complex biomechanisms necessary to support life. Now, in a promising new initiative, interdisciplinary teams of engineers, chemists, biologists and physicists are asking whether humans can mechanistically dissect some of nature's ideas in order to borrow from them in fashioning future products.

About 30 investigators at Duke, plus nearly 20 at other institutions or companies, are involved in research in CBIMMS. All of them are taking an engineer's look at nature in order to learn how to improve on its designs for human uses.