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Biogenic Organic Crystals: From Crystal Formation to Genetically Engineered Optical Materials

Total Cost €


EC-Contrib. €






Project "CRYSTALEYES" data sheet

The following table provides information about the project.


Organization address
address: .
postcode: 84105

contact info
title: n.a.
name: n.a.
surname: n.a.
function: n.a.
email: n.a.
telephone: n.a.
fax: n.a.

 Coordinator Country Israel [IL]
 Total cost 1˙966˙000 €
 EC max contribution 1˙966˙000 € (100%)
 Programme 1. H2020-EU.1.1. (EXCELLENT SCIENCE - European Research Council (ERC))
 Code Call ERC-2019-STG
 Funding Scheme ERC-STG
 Starting year 2020
 Duration (year-month-day) from 2020-03-01   to  2025-02-28


Take a look of project's partnership.

# participants  country  role  EC contrib. [€] 
1    BEN-GURION UNIVERSITY OF THE NEGEV IL (BEER SHEVA) coordinator 1˙966˙000.00


 Project objective

Many spectacular optical phenomena in nature are produced by the interaction of light with organic crystals. Organisms exert exquisite control over the habit and organization of these crystals to determine the type of optical effect produced by using strategies beyond the state of the art in solid state chemistry. Despite their important role in animal behavior and their huge potential to inspire new optical materials, little is known about these materials. However, recent discoveries of previously unknown organic bio-crystals indicate that many more of these materials will be found and that ‘organic bio-crystallization’ is an emergent field with important implications for materials science. My overall objective is to uncover the strategies organisms use to control the formation of organic crystals, enabling these strategies to be harnessed to develop new crystalline organic materials. A pioneering approach is proposed which entails following the crystallization pathways of organic molecules in model photonic systems undergoing development. The crystallization of guanine and isoxanthopterin will be investigated to reveal the physio-chemical and biological processes underpinning crystallization. Cryogenic electron microscopy, spectroscopy and in situ diffraction methods will determine changes in the chemical and physical properties of the crystals during crystallization. Proteomic and transcriptomic studies will identify the macromolecules responsible for controlling nucleation and growth and the genes encoding them. These bio-crystallization processes will then be artificially mimicked and manipulated to produce guanine and isoxanthopterin crystals with rationally designed crystal properties (crystal habit, composition, size), including an ambitious attempt to genetically programme guanine-producing iridophore cells as living factories to produce crystals with controlled phenotypes, laying the foundations for a new field of genetically programmed organic materials.

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The information about "CRYSTALEYES" are provided by the European Opendata Portal: CORDIS opendata.

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