The Fourth International Conference on Engineered Living Materials (ELMs) will gather the communities of material science, synthetic biology, biotechnology, and biophysics interested in programming and creating materials with life-like capabilities.

Engineered Living Materials open new avenues for resource-efficient fabrication of high-performance materials, and envision materials with unprecedented property combinations like integrated multifunctionality, adaptability, resilience, or evolvability. But how can materials be designed to allow sustained cellular survival and function? How can synthetic biology tools be interfaced with materials? How can processing technologies be made compatible with living cells? Which parameters and methods are required to characterize the dynamic behavior of ELMs? What are the requirements for the standardized scale-up of ELM production? What are the potential risks and mitigation strategies for the responsible application of ELMs in the future? New answers to these fundamental questions and many examples of new and functional ELMs are expected.

The program will also contain representatives from industry, regulatory agencies, and funding bodies to discuss the technical and environmental benefits and expected challenges of a functional marriage of non-living matter and living organisms.

The conference is scheduled to take place from September 18th to 20th, 2024 in Saarbrucken, Germany.

Annual meeting on Engineered Living Materials

The European Innovation Council established a portfolio of 7 research consortia working on Engineered Living Materials (ELMs).

Here is the picture of our first annual meeting in Brussels which did exceeded our expectations! Much to come from this group which aims to set up a European ELM platform.

From our SUMO consortium, Jesse Veenvliet, Heidi Beate Bentzen and Stefan Krauss were on board.

Getting ready for the TAC

Meet SUMO Consortium member Ryan Savill (Veenvliet Group) gearing up for his Thesis Advisory Committee (TAC) talk. With spectacular work being done only one year into his PhD, he’s got absolutely nothing to worry about. Stay tuned for an upcoming preprint on his thrilling research that integrates molecular and phenotypic fingerprints to predict and control morphological variation.

First SUMO preprint

We’re very proud that only one year into the SUMO project the first preprint is already out! The Nachman Lab applies machine learning on imaging data to predict gut morphotypes, and shows how global and personalized interventions make morphologically correct gut primordium formation in gastruloids much more reproducible: Coordination between endoderm progression and gastruloid elongation controls endodermal morphotype choice. Congrats to first author Naama!

First steps towards automated formation of gastruloids

One of the major goals of SUMO is to achieve reproducible, automated formation of mouse and human gastruloids that enter organogenesis stages. Meet our new partner-in-crime: a pipetting robot! (Pic courtesy Maria Oksvold)


SUMO (SUpervised MOrphogenesis) is setting the bar high! We aim to challenge the current limitations for realistic in vitro organ models by combining gastruloid technology with cutting-edge imaging, genomics, artificial intelligence, and bioengineering. 

Meet the fearless Team V1 taking up this challenge (at our kick-off meeting in Berlin):