Dr. Javier G. Fernandez

Dr. Fernandez's research is focused on the broad study, development, and application of biological materials in science and technology. The novelty and impact of his work have been consistently recognized. In 2014 he was awarded the world’s most outstanding young researcher in materials science by the Bayer Foundation. He has also been awarded with the Zwick Science Award for his studies on Mechanical Testing, and best 2008 PhD thesis at the University of Barcelona for studies on the use of biopolymers in Microelectronics and Biomedicine. His work at MIT on the development of the “Micro-Masonry” has been highlighted as “breakthrough in tissue engineering” (CNET).

At the Wyss Institute, the work of Dr. Fernandez is centered on elucidating the design principles of structural biosystems and applying those principles to create new classes of materials with exceptional properties. One of most recent results of this work is the design and fabrication of “Shrilk”, a compostable and biocompatible material inspired by the insect cuticle. Shrilk is referred, for example, to as “one of the materials that will change the future of manufacturing” (Scientific American), a “Supermaterial” (National Geographic), and has been chosen (with graphene and metamaterials) one of the “five material that could change the word” (The Guardian).

His vision is fundamentally changing the current design of materials, incorporating biological concepts and components at molecular scale.  Dr. Fernandez's work and ideas have been extensively covered by the media. Of special interest to understand this vision, is the documentary by BBC within the series “Genius of Nature, or the article by Harvard GazetteAs strong as an insect’s shell”. His opinion on environmental policies and sustainable development can be found, for example, at the personal interview for the science programme of BBC Radio “Costing the earth” and at the WGBH-TV (i.e.PBS) Forum Network.