Joanna Aizenberg elected to the National Academy of Sciences

CBES Investigator Joanna Aizenberg was elected to the National Academy of Sciences this spring.  Aizenberg, the Amy Smith Berylson Professor of Materials Science and Professor of Chemistry & Chemical Biology was elected "For being the pioneer of the budding field of bioinspired materials chemistry, applying lessons from natural systems to inventing artificial materials with unprecedented properties. She has made groundbreaking, seminal contributions to biomineralization, crystal engineering, smart surfaces, and antifouling and stimuli-responsive materials that display unique hierarchical designs."


Read more about the award Here.

CBES Investigator Joanna Aizenberg elected to National Academy of Engineering

CBES Investigator Joanna Aizenberg has been elected to the National Academyof Engineering.  Election to the NAE honors those who have made outstanding contributions to engineering research, practice, or education, and to the pioneering of new and developing fields of technology, making major advancements in traditional fields of engineering, or developing or implementing innovative approaches to engineering education.  More can be read about this award Here.

CBES Researcher Heather Calcaterra Awarded NSF Fellowship

Heather Calcaterra, a graduate student in Professor Mirkin's CBES group, has been selected to be a part of the National Science Foundation's Graduate Research Fellowship Program. Congratulations on the great work and we look forward to more!

EFRC Winter 2019 Newsletter Released

The Winter 2019 EFRC research newsletter was recently released and can be viewed in full HERE.

CBES Investigators Named Global 'Highly Cited Researchers'

CBES Investigators have been identified as being in the top one percent by citations in 2018.  Along with 8 other Northwestern University researchers, John A. Rogers, Chad A. Mirkin, and Samuel I. Stupp have been recognized by Clarivate Analytics for their seemingly ubiquitous contributions in their fields of study.

Read the Northwestern University Press Release HERE

Read the full Highly Cited Researchers 2018 List and executive summary HERE

CBES Research Highlighted in EFRC Newsletter

Principle Investigator George Schatz was featured in the most recent EFRC newsletter discussing CBES research.  The article, titled "Mother Nature Does it Better", details how the work CBES is conducting looks to natural biological processes in nature to improve current manmade systems and devices.

The full article can be read HERE.

Professors Stupp and Luijten Publish New Paper in Science Magazine

Soft structures in nature such as protein assemblies can organize reversibly into functional and often hierarchical architectures through noncovalent interactions. Molecularly encoding this dynamic capability in synthetic materials has remained an elusive goal. “Reversible Self-Assembly of Superstructured Networks” published in Science, reports on bio-inspired materials with dynamic properties developed in Samuel Stupp’s lab.  The hydrogels of peptide-DNA conjugates or peptides organize into superstructures of intertwined filaments that disassemble upon the addition of molecules or changes in charge density. Experiments and simulations demonstrate that this response requires large-scale spatial redistribution of molecules directed by strong noncovalent interactions among them. Simulations performed by Erik Luijten’s group also suggest that the chemically reversible structures can only occur within a limited range of supramolecular cohesive energies. Mechanical properties of the hydrogels change reversibly as superstructures form and disappear, as does the phenotype of neural cells in contact with these materials.

The experimental work was funded primarily by the US Department of Energy and the computational work by the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health. Additional support for the synthesis and characterization of peptide-DNA conjugates was provided by the Center for Bio-Inspired Energy Science  (CBES), an Energy Frontiers Research Center (EFRC) funded by the US Department of Energy, Office of Science. Biological experiments were funded by the Center for Regenerative Nanomedicine at the Simpson Querrey Institute.

Read the full article Here.

CBES Investigator Danna Freedman Awarded 2019 ACS Award in Pure Chemistry

CBES Principal Investigator Danna Freedman has been recognized by the American Chemical Society for her achievements in Pure Chemistry. Recipients of the award  will be honored at the awards ceremony on Tuesday, April 2, 2019, in conjunction with the 257th ACS National Meeting in Orlando. Nominations are being accepted for the 2020 national awards through Nov. 1. For more information, visit

Northwestern receives $15 million for Department of Energy Frontier Research Centers

Northwestern University research initiatives have received a cumulative $15 million from the Department of Energy (DOE) for the most recent funding round of the national Energy Frontier Research Centers (EFRC) program. The two selected proposals from Northwestern, the Center for Bio-Inspired Energy Science (CBES) and the Center for Light Energy Activated Redox Processes (LEAP), were among 42 programs collectively funded for $100 million to accelerate scientific understanding in energy-relevant fields.

This is the second EFRC renewal for CBES (formerly NERC) since its inception in 2009.  Read the full press release HERE.

New Professorship Honors Mark and Nancy Ratner

For 43 years, materials chemist Mark A. Ratner ’69 PhD has served on the faculty of Northwestern University’s Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences. Now a new endowed professorship will honor his legacy in perpetuity.  The Mark and Nancy Ratner Professorship was established this spring in recognition of a $2 million gift to Weinberg College from Ratner, his wife, Nancy, and his brothers and sisters-in-law, Charles and Ilana Horowitz Ratner, James and Susan Ratner, and Ronald and Deborah Ratner (’06, ’14 P).  Emily Weiss ’05 PhD, a faculty member in the Department of Chemistry and former student of Ratner’s, was invested as the inaugural Ratner Professor in a ceremony in Harris Hall on June 6. The gift is part of We Will. The Campaign for Northwestern.  The funds raised through the “We Will” Campaign are helping realize the transformational vision set forth in Northwestern’s strategic plan and solidifying the University’s position among the world’s leading research universities. More information on We Will. The Campaign for Northwestern is available at


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