I guess it counts as a positive thing that I got the phone call from my non-scientist wife, who was driving our kids to school and listening to NPR, as she usually does. When she reached me in my office, she was excited as she recounted the story she heard on WABE about the intersection of nanotechnology and biotechnology occurring at Georgia Tech. I consider her random hearing of this news story among many others as a sign that nanotechnology news is reaching the general public (as much as NPR listeners are considered the general public), highlighting the positive impact it can have for the economic well-being of Georgia and the United States.
The WABE report was the second installment of an eight-part series, BIO on my Mind, produced in advance of next months Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) conference here in Atlanta. I had planned to write more (and still do) about BIO when it occurs, but this timely plug is too good to pass up. In addition to background information from Kevin Martin (NRC Assoc. Director) and Greg Book (NRC Asst. Director for External Users), the story highlighted the work of Swaminathan (Swami) Rajaraman. In particular, Swami, who recently defended his ECE doctoral thesis, discussed how his multi-electrode array for electrophysiology can be used for cellular analysis with applications to pharmaceutical research. It was also mentioned that he is now working with start-up Axion Biosystems which is commercializing this research.
There is a considerable effort to position Georgia as a home for biotechnology, and it is gratifying that nanotechnology is considered to play a significant role in this. Just wait until next week (April 24), when the dedication of the Marcus Nanotechnology Building provides a new model for the interdisciplinary research required in this endeavor.