Most biomaterials (e.g. wood, silk) found in nature are formed at ambient conditions and degrade naturally to enable a sustainable ecosystem. In contrast, the production of human-made materials (e.g. cement, plastics) requires high temperatures or harsh chemical treatments, while their non-biodegradability unfavorably affects our environment. With the growing concerns on global climate changes, it is important to take inspiration from nature and design materials for a sustainable world. This sustainability issue can be addressed by employing living cells as factories to produce materials at ambient conditions. 

Technology Overview

This invention describes a method to fabricate Stiff Living Materials (SLMs). This is the first of its kind, wherein living microbial cells are utilized to make materials that are as strong and stiff as plastics, wood, bone, and concrete. The SLM also comprises living cells, which can be utilized to self-regenerate the material. SLMs are resistant to organic solvents like hexane, chloroform, acetonitrile, ethyl acetate, ethanol, methanol, and dimethylformamide. 

This living material’s technology offers limitless opportunities to design and develop sustainable structural materials.


  • Self-regenerate, self-heal, self-regulate, and environmentally responsive
  • Solvent‑resistant, stiff and strong material
  • Fabrication at room temperature without using any harmful chemicals
  • Cost‑effective and easy to manufacture
  • Comprise of benign cellular components and thereby offer sustainable solutions


  • Stiff and strong materials 
  • Solvent-resistant materials 
  • Self-regenerating materials
  • Limitless opportunities to design and develop sustainable structural materials, biosensors, self-regulators, self-healing and environment-responsive smart materials. 


  • License
  • Partnering
  • Research collaboration
Patent Information:
For Information, Contact:
Mark Saulich
Associate Director of Commercialization
Northeastern University
Avinash Manjula Basavanna
Anna Duraj-Thatte
Neel Joshi
Living Materials