Modelling approaches for designing new bioinspired dynamic materials

Title of the research project

DYNAPOL - Modeling approaches toward bioinspired dynamic materials

Scientific area 

Molecular simulation, Computational physical-chemistry, Bioinspired materials, Machine learning

Project coordinator

Giovanni Maria Pavan

Abstract 

The DYNAPOL project will develop multiscale molecular models and use advanced computational simulation and machine learning techniques to discover the fundamental chemical-physical principles to learn how to design new classes of artificial materials with bio-inspired dynamic properties, or similar to those of living materials.

Description of the research project 

DYNAPOL will explore new routes to design new types of artificial materials for various technological applications. It will use innovative chemical-physical concepts, different from those on which technological materials are typically based, and exploit self-assembly properties. The idea is to take inspiration from nature and how it builds complex materials possessing fascinating properties, such as the ability to actively respond to different types of external stimuli: environmental (temperature, salt concentrations, pressure), biological (specific interactions with proteins or tissues), chemical and physical. Examples of similar natural supramolecular materials are microtubules or protein filaments, which can reconfigure in response to specific inputs.
In order to design bioinspired artificial polymeric materials it is necessary to understand in detail the molecular principles that control their dynamic behavior, and to learn the relationships existing between the chemical structure of the constitutive self-assembling building blocks and the dynamic properties of the assemblies that these form across various spatio-temporal scales. To this end, the DYNAPOL project will use multiscale molecular models, advanced molecular simulation techniques and machine learning. The models obtained will be validated through continuous comparison with experimental data from various international collaborations. This is a highly multidisciplinary research with a pioneering character, which will avail of the close collaboration between chemists, physicists, engineers and computer scientists.

Impact on society 

DYNAPOL is a fundamental research project that aims at exploring approaches and trace new routes toward innovative technological materials. The results of this project will impact various research fields and technological areas of high current interest, such as biomedical, pharmaceutical, energy, chemical. At the same time it will develop new knowledge allowing to explore applications not yet foreseen in the field of innovative materials and complex molecular systems.

 

Short CV of project coordinator 

Giovanni M. Pavan has obtained a MSc in Materials Engineering in 2006 and a PhD in Nanotechnology in 2010, both from the Università degli Studi di Trieste (Italy). From 2010 to 2019 he has conducted his research activity at SUPSI (University of Applied Sciences and Arts of Southern Switzerland), working as researcher and then as professor and head of the Computational Materials Science Laboratory in the Department of Innovative Technologies. Since May 2019, he is full professor of computational physical-chemistry at Politecnico di Torino, Department of Applied Science and Technology. He is co-author of more than 75 peer reviewed publications appeared in important high-impact scientific journals. His research has received various awards and competitive funding from national and international research institutions.

DYNAPOL project has received funding from the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme  grant agreement No 818776

  • Budget: 2.000.000 euro
  • Start date: 1/11/2019
  • End date: 31/10/2024