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Biotechnology Symposium to Explore Critical Issues

May 2, 2006 | by Megan Fellman

CHICAGO --- A group of top scientists from Imperial College London will join nanotechnology experts from Northwestern University May 8 to lead a daylong symposium, “Bionanotechnology for Medical Applications,” for Chicago-area academic, industry and business leaders.

The program will focus on critical issues involving bionanotechnology and translational medicine in an event designed to launch a broader United Kingdom-Northwestern University initiative for scientific exchange visits and collaborations. Sponsored by UK Trade & Investment, the British Consulate-General, Chicago, and Northwestern's Institute for BioNanotechnology in Medicine (IBNAM), the symposium will be held from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. in the Pritzker Auditorium, 3rd floor, Feinberg Pavilion, Northwestern Memorial Hospital, 251 E. Huron St.

Symposium topics will include fundamental and applied aspects of nanoscience in chemistry and biology, such as cell and tissue regeneration, self-assembling and biomimetic materials and the physical chemistry of cell membranes.

Recognizing the importance of nanoscience, nanotechnology and bionanotechnology, U.K. and U.S. government agencies, universities and industry have made significant investments in these areas of research. Rapid growth is expected to continue as these emerging technologies help identify opportunities to improve human health and drive economic development.

“To be successful, research and training efforts in these emerging fields have to be highly interdisciplinary,” said Dame Julia M. Polak, professor of medicine and director of Imperial College's Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine Centre and symposium co-chair. “Interactions have to span not only across disciplines and professional hubs but also across international borders. Strengths and resources available in one country may complement those residing in another and together benefit other countries and world regions.”

IBNAM has been a leader in bringing together scientists and engineers from different disciplines to work on biomedical challenges. “We are excited to be working together now with Imperial College London,” said Samuel I. Stupp, director of IBNAM, Board of Trustees Professor of Materials Science and Engineering, Chemistry and Medicine at Northwestern and symposium co-chair. “The institute has the experience and capabilities to work with other countries and facilitate international collaborations in the area of bionanotechnology with the goal of understanding fundamental disease processes.”

The diversity of expertise and knowledge represented by the speakers -- in medicine, bioengineering, materials science, computer science, chemistry and other fields -- promises to encourage discourse, promote future interdisciplinary collaborations and lay the foundation for a productive relationship that later can be a model for other academic institutions and countries.

The symposium speakers and their topics include the following:

Northwestern University

• Samuel I. Stupp, Board of Trustees Professor of Materials Science and Engineering, Chemistry and Medicine and director of IBNAM: “Nanomaterials for Regenerative Medicine”

• Mark C. Hersam, assistant professor of materials science and engineering: “Nanomaterials for Biomedical Sensing”

• William L. Lowe, Jr., professor of endocrinology: “Cell Replacement Therapy for Diabetes: Applications of New Biomaterials”

• Chad A. Mirkin, George B. Rathmann Professor of Chemistry and director of the International Institute for Nanotechnology: “Nanostructures in Medical Diagnostics”

• Mark A. Ratner, Charles E. and Emma H. Morrison Professor in Chemistry: “Modeling Molecular Self-Assembly”

• Lonnie D. Shea, associate professor of chemical and biological engineering: “Nanoparticle Delivery From Tissue Engineering Scaffolds” Imperial College London

• Dame Julia M. Polak, professor of medicine and director of the Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine Centre: “Relevance of Nanotechnology in Tissue Engineering”

• Tony Cass, professor of chemical biology and deputy director and research director (bionanotechnology) in the Institute of Biomedical Engineering: “Microdevices and Nanomaterials in Biomedical Analysis”

• Rob Daniels, chief commercial officer, NovaThera Ltd, U.K.: “The Biotechnology Perspective”

• Andrew de Mello, professor of chemical nanosciences: “Microfluidic and Nanofluidic Systems for Medical Applications”

• Yuri Korchev, professor of biophysics: “Scanning Ion Conductance Microscopy”

To register and for up-to-date information, go to the symposium Web site at <www.uktradeinvestusa.com/ibnam> or contact Gila Budescu at the Institute for BioNanotechnology in Medicine at (312) 503-3246.

Topics: Campus Life