In the January issue

The MRS Fall Meeting, ancestry of cells in bioengineering, host responses to implants, liquid crystalline elastomers, antibacterial biomaterials & gas diffusion electrodes for CO2 reduction


  • Image of announcement

    Nature Reviews Materials and Nature Nanotechnology hosted a free virtual webinar and Q&A session with Kathryn A. Whitehead (Carnegie Mellon University) and Yizhou Dong (Ohio State University), discussing lipid nanoparticles for mRNA delivery

  • Image of announcement

    This conference aims to capture diverse bioinspired perspectives by bringing together prominent researchers with different focuses, but with the collective purpose of pushing the boundaries of materials science and technology, to mimic, refine and improve on the principles, structures and capabilities seen in nature.

  • ECR peer-review initiative

    Nature Reviews Materials is committed to facilitating training in peer review and to ensuring that everyone involved in our peer-review process is appropriately recognised. We have therefore joined an initiative to allow and encourage established referees to involve one early-career researcher in our peer-review process.


    • Microplastic is a complex contaminant causing great concern in society. This Review examines the properties of microplastic particles compared with natural particles in the environment and discusses methods of assessing the risks to humans and the environment.

      • Albert A. Koelmans
      • Paula E. Redondo-Hasselerharm
      • Merel Kooi
      Review Article
    • Plastics support modern life but are also associated with environmental pollution. This Review discusses technologies for the production and recycling of bioplastics as part of a more sustainable and circular economy.

      • Jan-Georg Rosenboom
      • Robert Langer
      • Giovanni Traverso
      Review Article
    • The design of superionic conductors necessitates a fundamental understanding of how to invoke fast ion transport in the solid state. This Review discusses the role of framework anion rotational dynamics in enhancing cation diffusion through the paddle-wheel mechanism and its exploitation at room temperature.

      • Zhizhen Zhang
      • Linda F. Nazar
      Review Article
    • Nanoreactors that isolate chemical precursors within a confined space are promising tools for synthesizing nanoparticles. This Review unifies the many classes of solution-based and substrate-confined nanoreactors, evaluating their current synthetic capabilities and their potential for solving future challenges in nanoparticle synthesis.

      • Jordan H. Swisher
      • Liban Jibril
      • Chad A. Mirkin
      Review Article
    • Centrifugal and/or shear forces induced by rotary motion can drastically alter outcomes of chemical experiments and processes. This Review surveys rotary systems in which such forces control self-organization phenomena, materials synthesis or even chemical reactivity at molecular and macromolecular scales.

      • Bartosz A. Grzybowski
      • Yaroslav I. Sobolev
      • Barbara Mikulak-Klucznik
      Review Article
  • The 2021 Materials Research Society (MRS) Fall Meeting was a hybrid event for the first time, featuring both an in-person meeting in Boston and a virtual meeting held separately. Nature Reviews Materials speaks to Gopal Rao, Chief Editor of Technical Content for MRS and Editor of MRS Bulletin, to find out what pandemic-era conference planning is like.

    • Ariane Vartanian
  • The Materials Research Society (MRS) fall meeting is a fixture in the conference calendar of the global materials science community. This year, for the very first time, the conference went hybrid, posing new opportunities, but also challenges, for organizers, speakers and attendees.

  • Environmentally benign and sustainable chemistry has the potential to address negative environmental impacts associated with the production and degradation of synthetic polymers. In particular, green synthesis of plastics could be achieved by the convergence of visible-light-driven photocatalysis and reversible-deactivation radical polymerization.

    • Yungyeong Lee
    • Cyrille Boyer
    • Min Sang Kwon
  • The positive benefits afforded by the widespread use of plastics need to be reconciled with negative impacts on the environment and health across the entire plastics life cycle. Optimizing the balance in several facets of plastics production, use and waste management is necessary for a more sustainable relationship with these materials in the Anthropocene.

    • Denise M. Mitrano
    • Martin Wagner
  • Lipid nanoparticles are going into billions of arms in the form of COVID-19 mRNA vaccines, delivering, at last, on the promise of nanotechnology to revolutionize drug delivery. Revolutions have the ability to alter the course of history. In the case of nanotech-based drug delivery, with many promising applications being explored, it looks like lipid nanoparticles have done just that.

  • An article in Nature Nanotechnology reports the transport and interaction mechanisms of short interfering RNA-delivering gold nanoparticles in plant leaves.

    • Christine Horejs
    Research Highlight

Inclusivity in materials science

This collection brings together articles discussing how the materials science community can become more inclusive, featuring action points and uncovering systemic problems underlying the current lack of diversity in academia and beyond.