Ashutosh Chilkoti Named Director of Center for Biologically Inspired Materials and Material Systems

Professor Ashutosh ChilkotiProfessor Ashutosh Chilkoti has been appointed director of the Center for Biologically Inspired Materials and Materials Systems (CBIMMS), Pratt Dean Robert Clark announced on Oct. 2. CBIMMS is an interdisciplinary Duke center focused on bio-nano-manufacturing, biointerface science and nanomechanics, using designs found in nature as inspiration for engineering advances.

In his capacity as center director, Chilkoti will also lead Pratt’s strategic research initiative in materials.

"As associate director of CBIMMS, Chilkoti provided extensive leadership on multi-investigator proposals and contributed to the successful award of two NSF Nanoscale Interdisciplinary Research Team proposals and extensive NIH supported research," said Clark, former director of CBIMMS. "In his new role, he will develop a vision for the future of CBIMMS that builds upon the extensive community of scientists and engineers involved in the center for interdisciplinary research and education."

"Rob [Clark] did a great job of setting up and shaping the center, the challenge now is to build upon it in a way that takes advantage of the strengths of its members," Chilkoti said, adding that he sees his position primarily as a facilitator who will make things happen. As such, he said he plans to first meet with the center's core members and others to assess "where CBIMMS is and where it should go."

CBIMMS researchers have recently generated several high profile advances such as the discovery of a protein-based molecular spring, an explanation for the physical forces that give DNA its famous double helix shape, the use of enzymes for nanofabrication and the development of inkless microcontact printing.

Chilkoti’s research in biomolecular materials and surface science emphasizes the development of applications that span the range from bioseparations, biosensors, patterned biomaterials, and targeted drug delivery. Chilkoti has been on the faculty at Duke since 1996 and earned his Ph.D. in chemical engineering from the University of Washington.