Living Materials: utilizing cells to program new functions
Living cells are genetically programmed to synthesize a staggering number of complex molecules from a few precursors. This ability in natural materials allows for long-term and efficient (re)generation and adaptation of their properties and function in response to variable environmental factors. These properties would also be desirable for technical and medical materials, but they are not realizable with non-living matter. Incorporating cells as components of synthetic materials opens new horizons in materials design and function. Two examples will be presented.