The UCSD Materials Research Science and Engineering Center (UCSD MRSEC) will explore new frontiers in (1) predictive assembly and (2) genetically programmed composite materials by exploiting the latest computational, nanotechnological, and biological tools in groundbreaking ways. The Center leverages interdisciplinary expertise and capabilities that are uniquely available at UCSD—in particular, the world-leading expertise in biosystems engineering and in materials computation. The fundamental research within the two interdisciplinary research groups (IRGs) will be empowered by an integrated educational approach that connects training in laboratory procedures, advanced instrumentation, and state-of-the-art computational methods with industrial/national laboratory externships under a highly interdisciplinary umbrella. The UCSD MRSEC will exploit strong synergies with the NSF-supported San Diego Nanotechnology Infrastructure and UCSD’s new Institute for Materials Design and Discovery to marshal the strengths of the campus’s physical sciences, biological sciences, and engineering programs. UCSD’s identity as a service-oriented public university and as an emerging Hispanic-Serving Institution dovetails with the MRSEC’s goal to increase diversity and inclusion in materials research.