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  • Many scientific breakthroughs occur when researchers with different expertise come together to work collaboratively, an effort welcomed by the US National Institutes of Health (NIH). This Comment provides the perspective of two program officers from the National Institute of Diabetes, Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) to help researchers with collaborative projects apply for NIH funding.

    • Lisa M. Spain
    • Albert J. Hwa
  • Photodynamic therapy allows the local destruction of diseased cells and tissues by light. This Review examines how photodynamic therapy and priming can be engineered for the treatment of localized, regional and distant cancer, from photosensitizer engineering to photonic devices and clinical translation.

    • Girgis Obaid
    • Jonathan P. Celli
    • Huang-Chiao Huang
    Review Article
  • Cells can be engineered to modify their function and behaviour for therapeutic and diagnostic applications. This Review discusses biological, genetic and materials-based engineering approaches for both mammalian and bacterial cells, outlining key design strategies and applications of engineered cell products.

    • Zhaoting Li
    • Yixin Wang
    • Quanyin Hu
    Review Article
  • Polysaccharides possess immune-activating or immune-regulatory functions and can thus be applied as immunomodulators. This Review discusses engineering approaches for the design of polysaccharides for vaccine, immunoadjuvant, immune-modulation and drug-delivery applications.

    • Jutaek Nam
    • April Kim
    • Sejin Son
    Review Article
  • An article in Nature Communications reports a metabolic modelling-based framework to construct synthetic microbiomes that can degrade specific herbicides in soil.

    • Christine-Maria Horejs
    Research Highlight
  • Soft bioelectronic devices are made from polymer-based and hybrid electronic materials that form natural interfaces with the human body. In this Review, the authors present recent developments in soft bioelectronic sensors and actuators, and discuss system-level integration for wearable and implantable medical applications.

    • Chuanzhen Zhao
    • Jaeho Park
    • Zhenan Bao
    Review Article
  • Global health-related research and development continues to uphold colonialist structures, concentrating knowledge generation and innovation to high-income countries, thereby hindering global health equity. Therefore, in addition to engineering new technologies, bioengineers will need to try to engineer equitable relationships.

  • Brain-on-a-chip models, mimicking brain physiology, hold promise for developing treatments for neurological disorders. This Review discusses the engineering challenges and opportunities for these devices, including the integration of 3D cell cultures and electrodes and scaffold engineering strategies.

    • Bram Servais
    • Negar Mahmoudi
    • David Collins
    Review Article
  • New insights into active versus passive nanoparticle tumour entry and exit mechanisms are enriching the understanding of tumour-targeted drug delivery. Here we align the principles of enhanced permeability and retention (EPR) and active transport and retention (ATR), and outline how their mechanistic features can be employed to improve the performance and clinical impact of cancer nanomedicines.

    • Anshuman Dasgupta
    • Alexandros Marios Sofias
    • Twan Lammers
  • Postdoctoral researchers (postdocs), vital contributors to academia, often face vulnerability and uncertainty. Here is a wish list from a fellow postdoc, outlining key measures to improve postdoctoral life — from employment stability and fair compensation to better work-life balance and mentorship.

    • Siphesihle R. Nxele
  • Stimulation therapy for neuropsychiatric disorders is hindered by the complexity and inter-individual and intra-individual variability in symptom manifestations, neural representations and response to therapy. Brain–computer interfaces could model the brain response to stimulation and decode the symptom state of a patient from brain activity as feedback to personalize the stimulation therapy in closed loop.

    • Lucine L. Oganesian
    • Maryam M. Shanechi
    Review Article
  • Despite inspiring proof-of-concepts that are often widely covered by the media, only a few neurotechnologies have firmly established themselves as clinical solutions. In this Review, we discuss opportunities and shortcomings of this technology, and provide a framework to facilitate clinical and commercial translation.

    • Gerwin Schalk
    • Peter Brunner
    • Kai J. Miller
    Review Article
  • An article in Nature Materials reports a new ultrasoft and conformal liquid bioelectronic material for injectable and retrievable biosensing.

    • Sadra Bakhshandeh
    Research Highlight
  • Organoid intelligence towards biocomputing may provide insights into the neuroscience of learning and memory, and offer a biohybrid form of information processing. Advances in brain region-specific organoid engineering, sensors and signal-processing tools, integration of artificial intelligence, and miniaturization will pave the way for organoid intelligence to make an impact in biomedicine and beyond.

    • Lena Smirnova
  • Prosthetic embodiment, or the incorporation of a prosthesis into one’s sensory and functional body schema, may be achieved by engineering bionic limbs that leverage a closed-loop mechanoneural–machine interface. However, the subjective experience of embodiment remains difficult to define and assess.

  • University departments may benefit from guidelines not only to craft effective diversity, equity and inclusion plans, but also to measure progress towards achieving specific goals. This Perspective presents a framework for building, assessing and continuously improving strategic plans to improve recruitment and retention and make departments more inclusive.

    • Jacqueline C. Linnes
    • Erika Moore
    • Rebecca Kuntz Willits
  • Viruses can be engineered to deliver nucleic acids, peptides and proteins for plant trait reprogramming. Building on market approvals and sales of recombinant virus-based biopharmaceuticals for veterinary and human medicine, similar innovations may be applied to agriculture for transient or heritable biodesign of crops with improved performance and sustainable production.

    • Fabio Pasin
    • Mireia Uranga
    • Choon-Tak Kwon
  • Artificial intelligence (AI) is finding its way into healthcare. Therefore, medical students need to be trained to be ‘bilingual’ in both medical and computational terminology and concepts to allow them to understand, implement and evaluate AI-related research.

    • Yosra Magdi Mekki
    • Susu M. Zughaier
  • Smart food packaging technologies can actualize real-time, in situ food quality monitoring, increasing food safety and decreasing food waste. Here, we detail challenges that hinder the commercialization of such smart packaging systems and identify opportunities to facilitate their translation from prototype to product.

    • Shadman Khan
    • Zeinab Hosseinidoust
    • Tohid F. Didar
    Down to Business