In collaboration with Prof Gary Wnek’s group at Case Western Reserve University, I’m happy to report our recent paper on cation-crosslinked hydrogels has been published in Soft Matter. Spearheaded by the fabulous Dr Anne Walker, the reported hydrogels can undergo extremely high strains owing to the interaction between the local cation and the PAA hydrogel. Interesting, we were able to correlate local Zn2+ coordination to the applied strain, directly showing the how mechanical properties are influenced by atomic-level interactions. And thanks to the beamline staff at 12-BM of the APS for the assistance with XAS experiments. Good job team!