About The Gazette Search Back Issues Contact Us    
The newspaper of The Johns Hopkins University April 28, 2008 | Vol. 37 No. 32
Second NanoBio Symposium to Focus on Cancer

By Mary Spiro
Institute for NanoBioTechnology

An estimated 600 experts on nanobiotechnology — a science that develops tools and machinery at the scale of one-billionth of a meter — are expected to attend this week's second annual Johns Hopkins NanoBio Symposium.

Hosted by the Johns Hopkins Institute for NanoBioTechnology, the event, scheduled for Thursday and Friday, May 1 and 2, on the East Baltimore campus, will focus on Nanotechnology for Cancer and feature a workshop co-hosted by the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins.

The workshop, to be held from 2 to 5 p.m. on Thursday in Owens Auditorium, CRB 1, will offer presentations by and discussions with several Johns Hopkins nanobiotechnology experts on promising new tools for the study and management of cancer.

"Advances in nanotechnology coupled with our increasing understanding of cancer make it a uniquely exciting time for both disciplines," said Kenneth Kinzler, professor of oncology in the School of Medicine and an INBT executive committee member.

A symposium from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Friday in Turner Auditorium will feature talks by internationally recognized nanobiotechnology experts Donald E. Ingber, professor of vascular biology at Harvard Medical School; Andrew D. Maynard, chief science adviser for the Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars; Paras N. Prasad, director of the Institute for Lasers, Photonics and Biophotonics at the University at Buffalo; Jeffery A. Schloss, of the National Human Genome Research Institute; and Jennifer L. West, professor of bioengineering at Rice University.

"Nanoscale technologies are already available to potentially solve a variety of problems in health care and medicine," said Peter Searson, INBT director and professor of materials science and engineering in the Whiting School of Engineering.

For example, one Johns Hopkins group has been working on a coated nanoparticle that can slip past the body's protective mucous barrier to deliver targeted drugs more effectively. Another has developed a polymer-coated "nanocurcumin," a nanoscale version of a therapeutic substance derived from spice, doses of which are more likely to reach their disease target when in the smaller, encapsulated form. And nanoparticles called quantum dots allow radiologists to produce multicolor images that can not only locate diseased tissue in a live animal but provide details on inflammation, protein concentrations, enzyme activities and much more.

Friday's session concludes with a poster session from 2 to 4:30 p.m. in the Turner Concourse, describing research conducted at Johns Hopkins and by government and industry scientists.

"This is a terrific opportunity for those engaged in nanobiotechnology-related research in an academic or commercial setting to showcase their research together," said Denis Wirtz, associate director of INBT and professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering in the Whiting School.

For more on the symposium, including a detailed agenda, go to


The Gazette | The Johns Hopkins University | Suite 540 | 901 S. Bond St. | Baltimore, MD 21231 | 443-287-9900 |