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The newspaper of The Johns Hopkins University September 8, 2008 | Vol. 38 No. 2
New Postdoc Program in Nanotech for Cancer Med

INBT fellowship designed to ensure diverse, highly trained workforce

By Mary Spiro
Institute for NanoBioTechnology

The Institute for NanoBioTechnology has launched a postdoctoral fellowship in nanotechnology for cancer medicine, or NTCM. The goal of this new postdoctoral training program, funded by the National Cancer Institute, is to ensure that a diverse and highly trained workforce is available to assume leadership roles in biomedical, behavioral and clinical research. This is the first T32 grant awarded in the Whiting School of Engineering. Applications are now being accepted for this one-of-a-kind program, which will allow two new postdoctoral fellows to enter the program each year.

Denis Wirtz, professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering in the School of Engineering, and Kenneth Kinzler, professor of oncology at the School of Medicine, will co-direct the program. Wirtz is associate director of INBT, and Kinzler is a member of INBT's executive committee.

NTCM postdoctoral fellows will learn new methods for molecular imaging, develop high- throughput diagnostic tools and engineer novel drug-, antibody- or genetically based delivery systems to treat human cancers, Wirtz said. "They will be laying the foundations for technologies that will enable an inside view of cancer cell functions, as opposed to the limited 'blackbox' input-output techniques currently used," he said.

The fellows will view interactions between nanostructures and biological systems in physical, biological and biomedical terms and will become adept at emerging concepts in biomolecular engineering, protein engineering, materials synthesis and surface modification. They will be able to take advantage of research and clinical resources at the Johns Hopkins Hospital, National Cancer Institute-designated Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center, Ludwig Center for Cancer Genetics and Therapeutics, Sol Goldman Pancreatic Cancer Center and In Vivo Cellular and Molecular Imaging Center, as well as the educational resources and experimental facilities available through INBT.

Each fellow will be supported for two years and will be co-advised by a faculty member in oncology or medicine and a faculty member in engineering. (To view the list of the 20 participating faculty members, go to Fellows will take a core lecture course in either nanotechnology or cancer biology and a core laboratory course in nanobiotechnology for cancer medicine and will attend a weekly journal club. In addition, fellows will participate in an annual fall retreat and the annual NanoBio Symposium in the spring. After two six-week rotations in the laboratories of participating faculty, fellows will embark on co-advised research in nanotechnology for cancer medicine.

Only U.S. citizens and permanent residents are eligible to apply for the program. Requirements for admission include a PhD in an engineering or biological/oncology discipline or an MD degree. A concentration in cancer is helpful. Interested applicants should send their C.V. and two letters of recommendation to Ashanti Edwards/Professor Denis Wirtz, Institute for NanoBioTechnology, 214 Maryland Hall, Homewood campus. For more information, e-mail


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