It's building up to be a busy time here at Materials Today. Not only is our annual cover competition now open again for submissions, but we're also getting ready to host our next Virtual Conference; for which the theme will be nanotechnology.

For those of you who've never attended one of our Virtual Conferences, allow me to explain…the Conferences are online-only events that are free to attend. All you have to do is visit and follow the links to register, and we'll send you all the details you need to attend. Then on the 11th-13th December you'll be able to view a series of invited presentations, as well as download a range of materials. We are also inviting all delegates to submit posters, which will be made available for participants to view online. To submit your poster just visit the address above, and follow the links.

The Materials Today team will also be attending a physical conference in the form of the MRS Fall Meeting in late November; and so if you are in Boston, do come and visit us at Booth #101. We'll be available to answer any questions you have about Materials Today: including the journal and the other activities we run, as well as Elsevier's other publications and programs. And if you don't have any questions, stop on by and say hello anyway!

This month's issue focuses on biomaterials, including this month's cover, which features a cell interacting with an array of helical microrobots. To find out more about the image, take a look at this month's Uncoveredarticle by Famin Qiu et al. If you'd like to see your work on the cover of Materials Today, as well as write anUncovered article, then now is the time to act! Just head over to to enter the competition, sponsored by Carl Zeiss.

In the rest of the issue Hutmacher and co-workers look at bone tissue engineering, including methods that exploit micro- and nano analysis of biodegradable composite scaffolds. Zhong and colleagues highlight novel designs of smart nanosystems that release drugs in response to an intracellular biological signals.

Stem cells hold remarkable promise for applications in disease modeling, cancer therapy, and regenerative medicine. With that in mind, Ying Mei discusses recent developments in materials microarray technology in relation to stem cell engineering. Finally, Wade and Burdick describe the important features of the natural extracellular matrix and highlight how these features are now being incorporated into synthetic materials.

Until next time, we hope you enjoy this issue of Materials Today.

And if we don't see you in Boston, we hope to see you at the Virtual Conference!

Read full text on ScienceDirect

DOI: 10.1016/S1369-7021(12)70180-3