Understanding the physics of living systems allows us to design new materials that are active and adaptive, akin to cells and tissues. Conversely, these active matter systems can reveal fundamental principles in physics and biology. In this talk, I will discuss three systems that feature this synergy, ranging from the molecular to the organismic scale. First, we consider the artificial microtubule, a new biomedical device that delivers microrobots into narrow microvascular channels. Second, we consider how a school of swimming bacteria can carry along nutrients, and how self-propelled droplets can transport cargo. Third, we consider anisotropic diffusion near active coating materials and bacterial biofilms. In each of these examples, surprising effects emerge due to their non-equilibrium nature. Indeed, elucidating active matter remains an unsolved challenge with exciting consequences across the disciplines.