Design of self-healing living mycelium materials at the intersection between biology and materials science.

Project Details


Driven by the motivation to improve the sustainability and the
versatility of materials, scientists are turning towards biology as a
source of inspiration. Filamentous fungi grow into dense networks of
mycelium, providing a promising resource for the fabrication of
leather-like biomaterials. However, in all established production
processes, the mycelium material is heat-treated after growth,
thereby killing the organism, thus missing out on crucial biological
properties that might result in novel functionalities, such as
environmental sensing or self-healing. This research pioneers the
development of materials in which the fungal organism stays alive. I
will follow an interdisciplinary approach to first investigate the
requirements to sustain the fungal viability during its lifespan, then
unravel the correlation between physical and mechanical properties
of the material and gene expression profiles of the organism. My
focus will be to study the regeneration behaviour of the fungus
leading to the self-healing of the material upon damage. All these
new insights will inform designs of novel reactive self-sustaining
fabrics. This project will extend knowledge on mycelium materials,
thereby also focusing on the biology of the organism and take the
first steps towards defining an ethical and societal framework for the
use of living engineered materials, in which nature is reconciled with
an anthropogenic world.
StatusNot started
Effective start/end date1/10/2130/09/24


  • Biological living materials grown with fungi
  • Self-healing and self-sustaining capacity
  • Reactive fabrics

Flemish discipline codes

  • Materials science and engineering not elsewhere classified
  • Functionalisation of materials
  • Bioprocessing, bioproduction and bioproducts
  • Mycology
  • Biomaterials