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Big science on a small scale: Opening celebration and symposium for new nano-bio clean room

Big science on a small scale: Opening celebration and symposium for new nano-bio clean room

Athens, Ga. – The University of Georgia celebrates the official opening of its new nano-bio clean room with a ceremony and symposium on Friday, March 12 at the Georgia BioBusiness Center in the Riverbend South complex.


Symposium invited speakers from the National Cancer Institute, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Northwestern University, Georgia Institute of Technology and UGA will address the future of nanobiotechnology and how to apply microfabrication and nanofabrication to biological and biomedical research. Attendees, including UGA faculty and students, and researchers from regional universities and national laboratories, will have opportunities to visit the clean room.


UGA’s $2.3 million nano-bio clean room is one of only a handful of facilities in the world where devices engineered at the atomic, molecular and macromolecular level interface with biology. Scientists work at this scale to understand and exploit the potential of matter—which, because of its scale, takes on new properties—and engineer novel devices with new applications for health, energy and the environment.


“Bio-nanotechnology has the potential to revolutionize our ability to predict and diagnose a range of diseases from infectious diseases to cancers, and target delivery of therapeutics,” said Yiping Zhao, associate professor of physics and astronomy in the UGA Franklin College of Arts and Sciences, and director of UGA’s Nanoscale Science and Engineering Center, or NanoSEC. “It provides us new opportunities and tools for advances in bioenergy, renewable energy and homeland security, as well.”


The 2,200-square-foot facility was funded by $1.3 million from the Georgia Research Alliance and $1 million from the University of Georgia Research Foundation, Inc.


“We are pleased to a partner in developing this key resource,” said Susan Shows, executive vice president of the Georgia Research Alliance. “It represents the kinds of collaborations that have driven breakthrough discoveries and helped to advance Georgia’s bioscience startups.”

“Nanotechnology is an enabling science with broad applications.It is critical that our faculty have access to state-of-the-art facilities,” said David Lee, UGA vice president for research.


“I am grateful to Carl Bergmann, assistant vice president for facilities, Office of the Vice President for Research, as well as the GRA and the UGARF Board, for helping to finally realize the long-standing goal of having a dedicated nanotechnology facility at UGA.”


By design, the nano-bio clean room is strategically co-located with the Georgia BioBusiness Center and infectious diseases research laboratories in UGA’s Riverbend South complex. Research collaborations that engage students and faculty in drug discovery, disease diagnostics and therapeutics, food safety, bioenergy and renewable energy are already underway. Partners include Emory University, Georgia Institute of Technology and Savannah River National Lab.


In addition, GBBC is already working with two companies on nano-scale diagnostics and therapeutics.


Symposium agenda

Morning session:

Dorothy Farrell, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health

Paul J. Joseph, Nanotechnology Research Center, Georgia Institute of Technology

Chang Liu, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Northwestern University

William Kisaalita, Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering, UGA


Afternoon session:

Ali Passian, Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Yan Geng, Department of Chemistry, Franklin College of Arts and Sciences, UGA

Stephen P. DeWeerth, Department of Biomedical Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology and Emory University

Mahesh C. Dodla, Animal and Dairy Science Department, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, UGA

Leidong Mao, Faculty of Engineering, UGA

Poster session

More information on the symposium and the nano-bio clean room is available at