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Biological systems can harness their living cells for growth and regeneration, but engineering systems cannot. Until now.

Qiming Wang and researchers at the USC Viterbi School of Engineering are harnessing living bacteria to create engineering materials that are strong, tolerant, and resilient. The research is published in Advanced Materials.

"The materials we are making are living and self-growing," said Wang, the Stephen Schrank Early Career Chair in Civil and Environmental Engineering and assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering in the Sonny Astani Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE). "We have been amazed by the sophisticated microstructures of natural materials for centuries, especially after microscopes were invented to observe these tiny structures. Now we take an important step forward: We use living bacteria as a tool to directly grow amazing structures that cannot be made on our own."

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