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  • 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.

  • 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
  • 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.

  • 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
  • Wound healing mechanisms differ depending on the sex, particularly in chronic wounds. Therefore, sex should be considered in the design of nanomedicine- and biomaterials-based wound healing therapies, both in preclinical and clinical testing.

    • Negar Mahmoudi
    • David R. Nisbet
    • Morteza Mahmoudi
  • Neuromodulation and brain–computer interfaces are rapidly evolving fields with distinct origins but with the shared goal of improving the lives of people with neurological and psychiatric disorders or injuries. Their increasing technological overlap provides new opportunities for collaborative work and rapid progress in neurotechnology.

    • Jeffrey Herron
    • Vaclav Kremen
    • David Borton
  • Fats and oils are crucial dietary supplements for human health. However, animal fats and palm oil dominate the food industry, with concerns over health and the environment that call for the development of fat alternatives. The fat industry offers a vast market potential, with several startups pioneering new technical solutions and attracting venture capital interest.

    • Enrico Costanzo
    • Giorgia Spigno
    Down to Business
  • Bioplastics have yet to make an impact in addressing plastics pollution. Policy measures, innovation and public discourse are needed to address misconceptions, clarify labelling and ensure their effective end-of-life management.

  • An article in Communications Engineering reports a 3D real-time magnetic particle scanner suitable for brain imaging at the patient’s bedside in intensive care units.

    • Sadra Bakhshandeh
    Research Highlight
  • The clinical translation of therapeutics on the basis of human gut microorganisms is hampered by our limited knowledge of how microbes survive and adapt to fluctuating conditions in the gut. The systematic exploration of gut microbiome survival strategies and trade-offs will thus enable the design of more efficient microbiome-based interventions.

    • Bin Liu
    • Daniel Rios Garza
    • Karoline Faust
  • What does global health equity mean? In bioengineering, ‘equity’ is often interpreted as global ‘access’ to technologies, thereby neglecting wider structural inequalities. Here we suggest that concepts of equity need to be expanded to incorporate principles of equitable representation and recognition within the innovation ecosystem.

    • Alice Street
    • Maïwenn Kersaudy Kerhoas
    • Zibusiso Ndlovu
  • Micro- and nanorobots present a promising approach for navigating within the body and eliminating biofilm infections. Their motion can be remotely controlled by external fields and tracked by clinical imaging. They can mechanically disrupt the biofilm matrix and kill the dormant bacterial cells synergistically, thereby improving the effectiveness of biofilm eradication.

    • Bonan Sun
    • Staffan Kjelleberg
    • Li Zhang
  • A long-standing nanoparticle delivery paradigm in cancer, that is, the enhanced permeability and retention effect, has been challenged, shifting the focus to active delivery mechanisms, which may provide a new mechanistic foundation for nanoparticle design.