Niels Holten-Andersen

Associate Professor of Materials Science and Engineering
B.Sc. Biology, University of Copenhagen, 1998
B.Sc.Hon. Molecular Biology, University of Canterbury, 2000
M.Sc. Cell Biology, University of Copenhagen, 2001
Ph.D. Biomolecular Science & Engineering, University of California-Santa Barbara, 2008


  • Biomaterials
  • Biomolecular Materials
  • Biophysics
  • Polymers


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.

Course III faculty were involved with the Manhattan Project.