News & Media Coverage

Multifunctional and Biodegradable Self-Propelled Protein Motors

23/07/2019 - Max Planck Press

A team of researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems in Stuttgart developed new self-propelled motors from biologically derived materials. Due to the nanostructure of the protein materials and the physical and chemical properties of the fuel, their protein-based motors have a higher performance output, efficiency, and mobility lifetime than previously reported Marangoni motors.

Multifunctional and Biodegradable Self-Propelled Protein Motors

18/07/2019 - Nature Research Bioengineering Community

From cephalopods to self-propelled microrobots

Interview in Hunan Satellite TV

03/04/2019 - Hunan TV, China

Interview on bioplastics and new materials for sustainability

https://www.mgtv.com/b/327909/5412492.html

Smart material made from squid teeth a potential plastic alternative

03/03/2019 - BBC Science Focus

Nylon and polyester could one day be a thing of the past, reducing microplastic pollution in the oceans and paving the way for self-repairing safety clothing or garments with built-in, flexible screens.

Squid could provide an eco-friendly alternative to plastics

22/02/2019 - Frontiers Sience News

Self-healing fabric, abrasion-resistant coatings, precision drug delivery and smart textiles are potential applications of squid ‘ring tooth’ protein

Squid Is the New Eco-Friendly Plastic, Study Says

22/02/2019 - Motherboard Tech by Vice

Bacteria could be genetically engineered to produce industrial quantities of biodegradable polymers based on squid teeth

Could squid protein be an eco-friendly answer to our plastic problem?

21/02/2019 - CNN

Researchers say proteins found in squid can be used to make alternatives to plastic.

A Pena-Francesch, MC Demirel. "Squid-Inspired Tandem Repeat Proteins: Functional Fibers and Films"

Frontiers in Chemistry - Polymer Chemistry 7, 69 (2019) (invited review)

Thermal switch discovered in engineered squid-based biomaterials

13/08/2018 - EurekAlert!, Phys.org, Nanowerk News, ScienceDaily, PSU News

Tuning materials for optimal optical and electrical properties is becoming commonplace. Now, researchers and manufacturers may be able to tune materials for thermal conductivity by using a squid-inspired protein made of multiple DNA repeats.

J Tomko*, A Pena-Francesch*, et al., "Tunable thermal transport and reversible thermal conductivity switching in topologically networked bio-inspired material" (*equal contribution)

Nature nanotechnology, 1 (2018)

Four Postdoc researchers join the Physical Intelligence Department thanks to a Humboldt Postdoctoral Research Fellowship

22/02/2018 - Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems

Each year, the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation grants approximately 500 fellowships to Postdoctoral Researchers of all nationalities and disciplines from abroad to continue their research in Germany. Four AvH fellows join the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems in Stuttgart.

Repetition key to self-healing, flexible medical devices

08/02/2018 - IEEE GlobalSpec, ScienceDaily, Penn State News

Medical devices powered by synthetic proteins created from repeated sequences of proteins may be possible, according to materials science and biotechnology experts, who looked at material inspired by the proteins in squid ring teeth.

Pena-Francesch, Abdon, et al. "Programmable proton conduction in stretchable and self-healing proteins" Chemistry of Materials (2018) 30 (3), pp 898–905

Pena-Francesch receives Humboldt Research Fellowship for Postdoctoral Researchers

29/01/2018 - Engineering Science and Mechanics Department News, Penn State

Recent Ph.D. graduate Abdon Pena-Francesch (’17 ESMCH) has been awarded a Humboldt Research Fellowship for Postdoctoral Researchers from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation in Germany.

Xploration Nature Knows Best

14/10/2017 - Season 2 Episode 6: Mother Nature Gets Fashionable

Whether it's under the ocean, in the jungle, or up in the air, our animal friends can have a remarkable way of presenting themselves to the world.  Bionic boots inspired by the ostrich.  Clothing of the future that could last nearly forever.

Bio Focus: Graphene-based composites achieve microstructural order at atomic scale

07/10/2017 - MRS Bulletin

Atomistic tunability of 2D layer spacing is a major advantage of using synthetic tandem-repeat proteins in graphene-based molecular composites because it allows for precise materials-property selection.

Vural, Mert, et al. "Programmable molecular composites of tandem proteins with graphene oxide for efficient bimorph actuators." Carbon 118 (2017): 404-412.

2D layered devices can self-assemble with precision

05/07/2017 - ScienceDaily, AZoNano, Penn State News

Squid-inspired proteins can act as programmable assemblers of 2D materials, like graphene oxide, to form hybrid materials with minute spacing between layers suitable for high-efficiency devices including flexible electronics, energy storage systems and mechanical actuators, according to an interdisciplinary team of Penn State researchers.

Vural, Mert, et al. "Programmable molecular composites of tandem proteins with graphene oxide for efficient bimorph actuators." Carbon 118 (2017): 404-412.

Cover page in Carbon

04/07/2017

Vural, Mert, et al. "Programmable molecular composites of tandem proteins with graphene oxide for efficient bimorph actuators." Carbon 118 (2017): 404-412.

Pena-Francesch receives Penn State Alumni Association Dissertation Award

24/04/2017 - Penn State News

Abdon Pena-Francesch, doctoral candidate in engineering science and mechanics, recently received the Penn State Alumni Association Dissertation Award from the Penn State Graduate School.

The award, which recognizes outstanding achievement in scholarship and professional accomplishment, is considered to be among the most prestigious available to Penn State graduate students.

Rapid screening machine can read and separate protein sequences

19/04/2017 - Penn State News

The structural properties of proteins that could eventually become important materials for manufacturing and medicine are revealed by a novel optical technique that works rapidly to sort through amino acid sequences even inside living bacteria, according to a team of engineers.

Jung, Huihun, et al. "Ultrafast laser-probing spectroscopy for studying molecular structure of protein aggregates." Analyst 142.9 (2017): 1434-1441.

Cover page in Analyst

27/02/2017

Jung, Huihun, et al. "Ultrafast laser-probing spectroscopy for studying molecular structure of protein aggregates." Analyst 142.9 (2017): 1434-1441.

Squid Parts Help Make Self-Healing Materials

13/01/2017 - Inside Science, American Institute of Physics

A special coating might one day repair ragged clothes with a little pressure, heat and water.

Gaddes, David, et al. "Self-healing textile: enzyme encapsulated layer-by-layer structural proteins." ACS applied materials & interfaces 8.31 (2016): 20371-20378.

Graduate Spotlight

12/2016 - Penn State Engineering Science and Mechanics Connections. Fall 2016 issue

Pena-Francesch Awarded for Innovation

Three Penn State researchers win Rustum and Della Roy Award

11/11/2016 - Penn State News

Abdon wins the Rustum and Della Roy Innovation in Materials Research Award. The award honors interdisciplinary materials research at Penn State that yields valuable, unexpected results and recognizes genuine innovation not previously achieved.

Pena-Francesch’s research involves a structural protein complex found in the tentacles of squid suction cups that exhibits remarkable mechanical properties in wet and dry conditions exceeding most natural and synthetic polymers.

Self-healing textiles not only repair themselves, but can neutralize chemicals

31/03/2016 - Engineering Penn State. Fall/Winter 2016 issue (Vol. 31, No. 2)

Someday, chemically protective suits made of fabric coated in self-healing, thin films may prevent farmers from exposure to organophosphate pesticides, soldiers from chemical or biological attacks in the field, and factory workers from accidental releases of toxic materials, according to a team of researchers.

Gaddes, David, et al. "Self-healing textile: enzyme encapsulated layer-by-layer structural proteins." ACS applied materials & interfaces 8.31 (2016): 20371-20378.

Toward clothes that fix their own rips

10/08/2016 - American Chemical Society, CNBCScienceDaily, Penn State News

Ripped pants or a torn shirt usually means a trip to the tailor or a garbage can is in one's future. But scientists could be closing in on a new solution. They report a fabric coating made of squid proteins that allows rips in cotton, linen and wool to 'heal' themselves.

Gaddes, David, et al. "Self-healing textile: enzyme encapsulated layer-by-layer structural proteins." ACS applied materials & interfaces 8.31 (2016): 20371-20378.

Programmable materials find strength in molecular repetition

23/05/2016 - ScienceDaily, Penn State News

Synthetic proteins based on those found in a variety of squid species' ring teeth may lead the way to self-healing polymers carefully constructed for specific toughness and stretchability that might have applications in textiles, cosmetics and medicine, according to Penn State researchers.

Jung, Pena-Francesch, et al. "Molecular tandem repeat strategy for elucidating mechanical properties of high-strength proteins." Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 113.23 (2016): 6478-6483.

2016 MRS Spring Meeting Graduate Student Awards Recipients

31/03/2016 - Materials Research Society, Spring Meeting, Phoenix AZ

Abdon wins the MRS Graduate Student Award

15/06/2016 Penn State News

Super-Strong Material Inspired By Squid Teeth Is Self-Healing

01/09/2015 - Popular Science, ScienceDaily, Wired, NewAtlas, Penn State News

A drop of water self-heals a multiphase polymer derived from the genetic code of squid ring teeth, which may someday extend the life of medical implants, fiber-optic cables and other hard to repair in place objects, according to an international team of researchers.

Sariola, Pena-Francesch, et al. "Segmented molecular design of self-healing proteinaceous materials." Scientific reports 5 (2015): 13482.

Results of 12th Annual ESM Today

06/03/2015 - Engineering Science and Mechanics Department News, Penn State

Abdon wins the first prize award at ESM Today Graduate Research Symposium

Squid supplies blueprint for printable thermoplastics

15/12/2014 - The Washington Post, Newsweek, Penn State News

Squid, what is it good for? You can eat it and you can make ink or dye from it, and now a Penn State team of researchers is using it to make a thermoplastic that can be used in 3-D printing.

Pena‐Francesch, Abdon, et al. "Materials fabrication from native and recombinant thermoplastic squid proteins." Advanced Functional Materials 24.47 (2014): 7401-7409.

Cover page in Advanced Functional Materials

01/12/2014

Pena‐Francesch, Abdon, et al. "Materials fabrication from native and recombinant thermoplastic squid proteins." Advanced Functional Materials 24.47 (2014): 7401-7409.

Cover page in Focus on Materials: Smart Materials

15/12/2014 - Materials Research Institute Fall 2014 18-20

Smart Materials: A Renewable Bioplastic Made From Squid Proteins

Interview on AIQS News

04/2014 - AIQS News 67. April 2014: 8-9.

P. Salvador Gil Awardees interviewed on AIQS News magazine

ESM Today 2014 winners announced

03/03/2014 - Engineering Science and Mechanics Department News, Penn State

Abdon wins the third prize award at ESM Today Graduate Research Symposium

P. Salvador Gil Award

02/12/2013 - AIQS

Abdon is awarded the P. Salvador Gil Award to "best master thesis in Chemical Engineering" for his work "Development of nanoscale biomimetic surfaces with thermo-responsive polymers and protein-based materials"

Genome of elastomeric materials creates novel materials

09/09/2013 - ScienceDaily, NanoWerk, Penn State News

A wide range of biologically inspired materials may now be possible by combining protein studies, materials science and RNA sequencing, according to an international team of researchers.

Guerette, Paul A., et al. "Accelerating the design of biomimetic materials by integrating RNA-seq with proteomics and materials science." Nature biotechnology 31.10 (2013): 908.

Cover page in Nature Biotechnology

08/09/2013

Guerette, Paul A., et al. "Accelerating the design of biomimetic materials by integrating RNA-seq with proteomics and materials science." Nature biotechnology 31.10 (2013): 908.

Dr. Abdon Pena-Francesch

Research website

© Abdon Pena-Francesch 2019

Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems

Physical Intelligence Department

Heisenbergstr. 3 70569 Stuttgart Germany