Nanotechnology and infectious disease research symposium to be held

Georgia universities to collaborate on nanotechnology and infectious disease research; inaugural symposium on Feb. 19

Athens, Ga. – The inaugural Georgia Symposium on Nanotechnology in Infectious Disease, co-sponsored by Georgia’s major research universities, will be hosted by the University of Georgia Thursday, Feb. 19.

The free, one-day symposium marks the start of a collaboration among UGA, the Georgia Institute of Technology and Emory University to transform Georgia into a major attractor and incubator for emerging nanotechnology-based industries, with a focus on the application of nanotechnology to infectious diseases.

Vice President for Research David Lee said, “These three universities have common research interests in the application of nanotechnology to biomedicine, especially in the area of infectious disease. As they comprise a major component of the state’s intellectual resources, these institutions have significant opportunities-in addition to profound obligations-to facilitate and participate in this revolutionary development in 21st century science, technology and industry.”

“Nanotechnology is set to revolutionize the biological and physical sciences, and the related areas of applied science and engineering, during the next two decades,” said Rich Dluhy, director of UGA’s NanoScale Science and Engineering Center (NanoSec), the conference organizer.

“The global economic impact of nanotechnology is estimated to be at the trillion-dollar level over the next 15 years,” said Dluhy. “To ensure the continued robust economic development of the State of Georgia over the coming decades, it is imperative that all available nanotechnology-related resources be marshaled.”

Nano-technology-that is, the manipulation of nanometer-length atoms, molecules, and supramolecular structures-opens the door to advances in variety of scientific disciplines. Dluhy said that the Georgia collaborations will target advances in nano-medicine and nano-pharmacology for pathogen- and disease-intervention strategies, applications of inorganic nanostructures and nanopatterned surfaces in food processing/food safety, applications of nano-devices in agriculture and horticulture, and applications of chemical and biological nano-sensors to detect zoonotic and emerging diseases associated with homeland security and biodefense.

The one-day symposium, held in the Riverbend South Conference Center, features morning and afternoon keynote speakers, followed by talks from faculty at the three sponsoring institutions.

The session begins at 8:30 a.m. with keynote speaker Mostafa El-Sayed, Julius Brown Chair and Regents’ Professor of Chemistry in the School of Chemistry and Biochemistry, and Director of the Laser Dynamics Laboratories at Georgia Tech. El-Sayed recently was awarded the U.S. National Medal of Science, partially in recognition of his work in nanomedicine.

The next session begins at 1 p.m. with keynote speaker Shuming Nie, Wallace H. Coulter Distinguished Chair Professor in Biomedical Engineering at Emory University.

Conference organizers are Duncan Krause, director, UGA Faculty of Infectious Diseases; Richard Dluhy, director, UGA NanoScale Science and Engineering Center; Gang Bao, Distinguished Professor, Georgia Tech/Emory Department of Biomedical Engineering; Larry McIntire, chair, Georgia Tech/Emory Department of Biomedical Engineering.

Conference details are online at http://id.uga.edu/conferences.php#021909.