With recent developments of nanoscale engineering in the physical and chemical sciences and advances in molecular biology, molecular biomimetics is combining genetic tools and evolutionary approaches with synthetic nanoscale constructs to create a new hybrid methodology: genetically designed peptide-based molecular materials. Following the fundamental principles of genome-based design, molecular recognition, and self-assembly in nature, we can now use recombinant DNA technologies to design single or multifunctional peptides and peptide-based molecular constructs that can interact with solids and synthetic systems. These solid-binding peptides have made significant impact as inorganic synthesizers, nanoparticle linkers, and molecular assemblers, or simply as molecular building blocks, in a wide range of fields from chemistry to materials science to medicine. As part of the programmatic theme, "Nanoscience: Challenges for the Future", the current developments, challenges, and future prospects of the field were presented during a symposium at the 237th ACS National Meeting held in March 2009. This Nano Focus article presents a synopsis of the work discussed there.