Nanobiotechnology expert Ravi Kane has been named the P.K. Lashmet Professor at Rensselaer. The endowed professorship is one of the highest honors bestowed on a Rensselaer faculty member.
“Professor Kane is an innovator, a gifted mentor to young researchers, a world leader in his field, and he continues to chart new territory at the increasingly important intersection of nanotechnology and biology,” said Timothy Wei, acting dean of Rensselaer’s School of Engineering. “This new chaired professorship is well deserved. We’re confident of Ravi’s future success, and look forward to seeing his next big research breakthrough.”
Since joining the Rensselaer faculty in 2001, Kane has won several high-profile awards and published many high-impact research papers.
In August, he received the 2008 Young Investigator Award from the American Institute of Chemical Engineers’ Nanoscale Science and Engineering Forum. In 2004, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Technology Review named Kane as among the TR 100, a list of the world’s top 100 young innovators. He was recently named the 2008 Dr. G. P. Kane Visiting Professor in Chemical Engineering at the University Institute of Chemical Technology, in Bombay, India. Kane also won a Rensselaer Early Career Award in 2006.
Kane’s research focuses on the interface of nanotechnology and biotechnology, in attempt to identify new ways of transforming a fundamental molecular-level understanding of nanoscopic and biological systems to develop new advanced materials that can play an important role in tackling important global challenges related to health and medicine.
In a recent publication in Nature Nanotechnology, Kane’s team demonstrated for the first time that upon exposure to visible and near-infrared light, carbon nanotubes mediate the selective deactivation of attached proteins. Kane’s group used this phenomenon to design nanotube-peptide conjugates that selectively destroy anthrax toxin from a mixture of proteins. The group also used these findings to develop and create transparent “self-cleaning” nanotube coatings.
Kane’s other ongoing projects involve developing potent inhibitors of anthrax toxin, and designing new methods to prevent viruses such as HIV-1 and influenza from infecting other cells. Funding for Kane’s efforts to design toxin inhibitors was recently renewed by a $2.7 million grant from the U.S. National Institutes of Health. His group is developing methods to control cellular microenvironments in order to influence stem cell proliferation and differentiation for applications in tissue engineering.
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