Project period: May – July 2014 

This community later received Accelerator Funding for the project: Biomimetic assemblies of complex functional materials in hierarchical structures

GW4 community leads

University of Bath: Paul Raithby (PI) 
University of Bristol: Dek Woolfson, Simon Hall 
Cardiff University: Niklaas Buurma 
University of Exeter: Saverio Russo 

Project overview

This collaboration brings together three exceptionally strong groupings within GW4 to focus on the design and development of new bio- and biomimetic materials with targeted properties and functions. 


The development of new materials with biological and/or chemical function will transform the way that chemistry and biology can be combined to make devices for healthcare technologies. Targets include: 

  • synthetic techniques for mono- and multilayers layers, thin films, functional surfaces 
  • graphene/hybrid materials for biosensing 
  • biological computing and self-assembled molecular machines 
  • sensors for non-invasive diagnostics 
  • wound healing and tissue engineering 
  • improved drugs from control of crystallisation 
  • self-assembled materials from biological components, e.g. DNA & proteins, combined with electroactive components. 

Project summary 

The community brought together three groupings within GW4: Centre for Graphene Science (Exeter & Bath), BrisSynBio (Bristol), and the EPSRC Directed Assembly Grand Challenge Network (DA; Bath, Bristol & Cardiff). New links have been established within and between GW4 institutions, as well as other UK universities and industrial companies. Two meetings stimulated a range of innovative research ideas and a number of multi-disciplinary projects have been set up. Several of these were developed into funding applications, including a successful application for GW4 Accelerator “Biomimetic assemblies of complex functional materials in hierarchical structures”.