Monday, May 4, 2009

The NanoFANS Forum

Last Friday was the third installment of the NanoFANS (Focusing on Advanced Nano-bio Systems) Forum , a biannual symposium for the nanoscience and nanotechnology community held at the Georgia Tech NRC. This was the first major event held in the conference facilities of the Marcus building, and it was a bit of a shakedown cruise as we learned the ins and outs of the new audio-visual systems. Nevertheless, it was an extremely well-attended event, with nearly 150 pre-registrations – a number that could not be accommodated in the space within the Pettit building. Credit and kudos to Paul Joseph, NRC Senior Research Scientist, who has organized this event since its inception in 2008.
The theme of the symposium was Cancer Nanotechnology, and the three speakers all touched on the use of nanomaterials for cancer diagnosis and treatment. Shuming Nie (GT and Emory School of Biomedical Engineering) is one of the pioneers in development and application of semiconductor quantum dots as fluorescent labels, and he discussed their tunability using size, composition, and strain. QDs have progressed steadily over the past 10 years through in vitro cellular studies and in vivo animal studies, and human applications appear just around the corner. John McDonald (GT School of Biology) represents the successful collaboration between cancer biology and nanoscience through his work with Andrew Lyon on nanohydrogels for siRNA delivery and John Zhang on magnetic nanoparticles for capture of metastatic cells. Finally, Mostafa El-Sayed (GT Chemistry and Biochemistry) explained the unique electronic properties of nano-gold which are promising for spectroscopic and thermal generation applications in cancer detection and therapy.

If you missed this NanoFANS event, you will be able to find the talks on SMARTech , the library’s archive, when they are posted (along with the previous presentations). However, if you are interested at all in the intersection of nanotechnology and the life sciences, I recommend you not miss NanoFANS when it returns in the fall.

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