Niels Holten-Andersen




Thanks to hundreds of millions of years of molecular evolution, Nature today presents us with polymers that under ambient pressure and temperature can self- assemble into materials with extraordinary properties such as underwater adhesion and self-healing. In contrast, man-made polymer materials are typically water intolerant, mechanically irreversible and environmentally unfriendly. My long term research goal is to distill the design strategies evolved through biological material adaptation in Nature and use them to expand the material properties of synthetic polymers. In the short term my lab will focus on utilizing a recently discovered biological polymer crosslink mechanism to (I) control polymer mechanics, to (II) establish polymer networks in confined geometries, and to (III) assemble polymer materials with bio-inspired hierarchical designs.

Selected Publications

Holten-Andersen, N., Jaishankar, A., Harrington, M. J., Fullenkamp, D. E., DiMarco, G., He, L., McKinley, G. H., Messersmith, P. B. & Lee, K. Y. C. (2014), "Metal-coordination: using one of nature's tricks to control soft material mechanics" J. Mat. Chem. B. (Advance Article) DOI: 10.1039/C3TB21374A

Holten-Andersen, N., Henderson, M. J., Walther, F. J., Waring, A. J., Ruchala, P., Notter, R. H. & Lee, K. Y. C. (2011), "KL4 peptide induces reversible collapse structures on multiple length scales in model lung surfactant" Biophysical Journal, 101, 2957-2965.

Holten-Andersen, N., Lee, B. P., Messersmith, P. M., Lee, K. Y. C. & Waite, J. H. (2011)," pH-induced metal-ligand cross-links inspired by mussel yield self-healing polymer networks with near-covalent elastic moduli" Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (USA), 108, 2651-2655.

Holten-Andersen, N., Fantner, G. E., Hohlbauch, S., Waite, J. H. & Zok, F. W. (2007), "Protective coatings on extensible biofibres" Nature Materials, 6, 669-672.

Related News

Metal-coordination: using more of nature’s tricks to assemble new soft materials
MMEC SEMINAR SERIES Mechanics: Modelling, Experimentation, Computation
November 4, 2014
MITEI 2014 Seed Fund Awards Announced
The MIT Energy Initiative (MITEI) has announced its latest round of seed grants to support early-stage innovative energy projects.
March 28, 2014
MPC spotlight article on Prof. Niels Holten-Andersen
Inspired by nature: Mussel fibers lead Holten-Andersen to create polymer gels with strong, but reversible, metal coordination bonds  
May 2, 2013
Faculty Updates
Please join us in welcoming Professor Antoine Allanore and Professor Niels Holten-And
June 29, 2012