Because of Rensselaers expertise in this growing, diverse field, the NSF recently chose Rensselaer as a site for one of only six nanoscale science and engineering centers in the country. In an intense competition, 24 first-round finalists were selected from almost 100 applications. That number was pared down to 11 before the government chose the final six winners. New York state is home to three of those sitesRensselaer, Cornell, and Columbia University. The other award recipients are Northwestern, Harvard, and Rice.
From the NSF, the NSF Center for Directed Assembly of Nano-structures will receive $10 million$2 million a year for five yearsto address fundamental scientific principles underlying the design and synthesis of new materials and structures with dramatically improved properties. The NSF Center involves a partnership among Rensselaer, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC), and Los Alamos National Laboratory.
In addition to the NSF funding of $10 million over the next five years, Rensselaer and UIUC, New York, and industry will each contribute $500,000 a year for the next five years, for a total of more than $17 million for the NSF Center. These contributions and other funding resources total than $25 million for the Rensselaer Nanotechnology Center over the next five years.
An important component of the NSF Center will be an effort to excite and educate a diverse cadre of young people in grades K-12 and beyond. Linda Schadler, associate professor of materials science and engineering at Rensselaer, will lead the outreach activities of the center that include a collaboration with the Junior Museum of Troy. Schadler will take advantage of the museums planetarium equipped with a new Digistar projection system, capable of projecting 3-D computer images, videos, and slides.
Tapping Into Natures Basic Building Blocks
With a major emphasis on the biosciences and biotechnology, the NSF Center for Directed Assembly of Nanostructures will be incorporated as part of the overall research plans of the Rensselaer Nanotechnology Center. Jonathan Dordick, Rensselaers Howard P. Isermann Professor of Chemical Engineering, will play a leading role in the new NSF Center by directing research into how lifes basic building blocks can be incorporated into manmade nanomaterials to build devices that could one day diagnose illness and play a central role in drug delivery.
Dordick and his team of researchers are taking advantage of such selective enzymes and other proteins by incorporating them into various nanomaterials. These biosystems could be introduced into cells to work as antibodies that would manipulate or destroy contaminated proteins and other targeted molecules.
Envision the day when a diabetic can abandon daily painful insulin shots and instead receive one shot from a doctor or a dose of nasal spray. Infinitesimal devices delivered by shot or spray would race through the body until they bind to certain cells. The nanoscopic robots would then begin secreting the insulin at a specific rate at an exact time. The single dose could last for months or years. Other proteins encapsulated in such nanodevices could target and destroy specific cancer cells.
The nanomaterials would allow the inserted therapeutic proteins, such as antibodies, to be released at a controlled rate. If the material has big pores, for example, those proteins come out quickly; if it has small pores, the delivery will be slower.
There are two key issues for drug delivery. One is getting a release. Ideally, you want a sustained release over a long period of time at a very constant rate. Secondly, you want the delivery system to be incorporated into the body without causing problems, Dordick says.
We are essentially marrying the fields of protein technology and polymer chemistry. Here we have all the attributes of a proteincatalytic, highly selectiveand then all the attributes of the nanoparticle, which is a very durable, highly stable material, Dordick adds. You bring them together, and you have a protein-containing nanocomposite.
|<< Previous||Page 1||Page 2||Page 3||Page 4||Next >>|
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI), 110 8th St., Troy, NY 12180. (518) 276-6000