In the December issue

Lipid nanoparticles for mRNA delivery, silica nanoparticles, renal-clearable optical agents, coherent magnonics, metal oxide photoanodes, zeolitic materials and engineered living biomaterials


  • 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.


    • Cold chain requirements, distribution challenges and high costs limit the global rollout of many vaccines. This Review discusses plant molecular farming in combination with advanced materials strategies as a new platform for the local production of thermostable vaccines and other biologics.

      • Young Hun Chung
      • Derek Church
      • Nicole F. Steinmetz
      Review Article
    • The central nervous system is protected by tightly regulated physiological barriers, which make drug delivery into the brain and spinal cord very challenging. This Review discusses the pathophysiological changes that complicate drug delivery into the central nervous system and examines materials-based strategies to bypass or overcome these barriers for drug delivery.

      • Elizabeth Nance
      • Suzie H. Pun
      • Drew L. Sellers
      Review Article
    • Organelles are compartments inside cells that play important parts in intercellular and intracellular communication, reflecting the metabolic state of the cell. This Review discusses biological pathways that can be exploited to target cargo to specific organelles in vivo, highlighting nucleic acids as suitable delivery vehicles for organelle-level imaging, diagnosis and therapy.

      • Anand Saminathan
      • Matthew Zajac
      • Yamuna Krishnan
      Review Article
    • Soft actuators are flexible and compliant and thus perfectly suited to interact with the human body. This Review discusses tethered, untethered and biohybrid soft actuation strategies, highlights promising real-world applications of soft robots and identifies key future challenges, such as implementing physical intelligence and end-of-life strategies.

      • Meng Li
      • Aniket Pal
      • Metin Sitti
      Review Article
  • 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
  • Bioengineered platforms, intended to be used in the investigation of human health and disease, often incorporate cells of unknown ancestry or that lack diversity. To develop tools and platforms that benefit the entire human population, we must consider the ancestry of cells and intentionally diversify the cells we use in our designs.

    • Erika Moore
    • Josephine B. Allen
    • Elizabeth C. Wayne
  • The United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties, or COP26, will meet this month in Glasgow. Countries will commit to new, ambitious targets for reducing emissions this decade. Delivering on these promises will depend on the development and wide implementation of green technologies.

  • An article in Nature Biomedical Engineering reports an in vivo workflow for the design of lipid nanoparticles to efficiently deliver mRNA to the lungs via nebulization.

    • Christine Horejs
    Research Highlight
  • An article in Nature Chemistry reports a tip-manipulated approach to build custom nanoarchitectures on a surface by activating, orienting and coupling together individual building blocks.

    • Ariane Vartanian
    Research Highlight
Inclusivity in materials science

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.