Biology-Inspired Supramolecular Peptide Systems

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Supramolecular living matter is remarkably complex in composition and structure and often exists far from equilibrium. The biological manufacturing process involves compartmentalization and confinement, supramolecular templating, and cascades of enzymatic reactions to produce structures at a variety of size scales that are formed in highly heterogeneous environments. In contrast, laboratory-based materials are typically formed as single- or bi-component systems in homogeneous, chemically “sterile” environments, therefore destined to be significantly less complex. Fortunately, over the last two decades, major developments in supramolecular chemistry and systems chemistry have made the construction of life-like peptide-based materials increasingly attainable. Peptide structures can now be designed with controlled hierarchy and symmetry, as ordered or disordered or dynamic assemblies, for the generation of complex responsive materials that adapt their properties in response to chemical or physical stimuli. In this Perspective, we highlight these recent efforts by focusing on the underlying molecular design and discuss where the field is heading.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1222-1236
Number of pages15
Issue number6
StatePublished - 11 Jun 2020


  • SDG3: Good health and well-being
  • life-like materials
  • liquid-liquid phase separation
  • peptide self-assembly
  • supramolecular materials
  • systems chemistry


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