Inside Rensselaer
Nano2011 Conference

“In a society in which many people have become increasingly skeptical and uncomfortable with scientific advances and technology, education and transparency must be provided.”—Glenn Monastersky

Big Success With the Nano2011 Conference

More than 150 students, physicians, lawyers, venture capitalists, and researchers—from as far away Australia and Germany—attended the Nano2011 conference last month. The all-day event, sponsored in part by Rensselaer’s Office of Alumni Relations, is now in its ninth year.

This year’s conference, titled “Medicine, Science and Engineering,” explored the impact of nanotechnology on health care and pharmaceuticals. The event took place May 2 in the Center for Biotechnology and Interdisciplinary Studies (CBIS).

Raj Bawa ’87, adjunct associate professor in the Department of Biology, chaired the conference and opened the event with a talk on the history and current trajectory of nanotechnology. Along with Bawa, presenters at the conference included CBIS Associate Director Glenn Monastersky, who presented on “Bioethical and Biosafety Issues in Nanotechnology Research.”

“The risks and benefits of nanotechnology frequently are unclear to the public. In a society in which many people have become increasingly skeptical and uncomfortable with scientific advances and technology, education and transparency must be provided,” said Monastersky, also a clinical assistant professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering. “International cooperation is critical to establish global ethical, safety, and accountability standards for the creation and testing of new nanotech formulations and products and for the recycling and disposal of nanowaste materials.”

Also presenting from Rensselaer was Robert Chernow, vice provost for entrepreneurship and clinical professor, who spoke on “Entrepreneurship: A Way to Think, Learn, and Succeed.”  Assistant Professor Patrick Maxwell, from the Department of Biology, presented his technical talk, “Retrotransposons as Agents of Genome Instability.”

In his morning keynote presentation, Rutledge Ellis-Behnke, a professor at University of Heidelberg in Germany and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, spoke about his new experimental approaches that employ nanotech to treat vision and other ailments that frequently befall the elderly.

Other presenters included researchers from the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering at the University at Albany, Deakin University in Australia, Brown University, University of Waterloo (Canada), along with companies and industry groups including the Biomedical Engineering Alliance and Consortium, and Albany law firm Heslin, Rothenberg, Farley, and Mesiti. The topics ranged from technical topics to commercialization opportunities of nanotechnology and related fields, to ethical and legal issues.

Next year’s event, Nano 2012, is scheduled for April 23, 2012, in CBIS. For more information, visit:

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Inside Rensselaer
Volume 5, Number 11, June 17, 2011
©2011 Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
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