April 27, 2009 was an exciting day for multi-disciplinary collaboration at the University of Utah, as investigators began “bridging the gap” between research on upper and lower campus. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) and, in particular, the National Cancer Institute (NCI) are calling for greater interface between the physical sciences, engineering, and the health sciences areas of higher learning institutions and companies nationwide in order to bring more novel and advanced healing methods to the clinic and quickly on to FDA approval and commercialization. The topic of the joint retreat between the Huntsman Cancer Institute (HCI) and the Nano Institute of Utah, Applications for Nanotechnology in Cancer Research, was focused on how the University of Utah can answer this call for collaboration. Awards for multi-disciplinary research is the current trend in federal research funding and the University of Utah is perfectly poised to take advantage of these opportunities. Fourteen excellent speakers from several areas on campus, such as the College of Engineering, School of Medicine, and HCI reported on their research interests as a platform to foster interest amongst their peers for multi-disciplinary partnerships. To demonstrate the pool of talent our researchers have to draw upon, below is a list of speakers and the topics they presented:
Mary Beckerle, Ph.D., Executive Director, Huntsman Cancer Institute, HCI Overview
Marc Porter, Ph.D., Director, Nano Institute of Utah, Director, USTAR Center for NanoBioSensors, Professor, Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, Nano Institute of Utah Overview and Diagnostics and Nanotechnology
Hamid Ghandehari, Ph.D., Co-director, Nano Institute of Utah, Director, Utah Center for Nanomedicine, Professor, Pharmaceutics and Bioengineering, Opportunities for Cancer Nanotechnology at University of Utah
Natalaya Rapoport, Ph.D., Research Professor, BioengineeringNanodroplet/Microbubble Platform for Nanochemotherapy
Bruce Gale, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Electrical and Computer Engineering, and Mechanical Engineering, Microfluidics Can Help Answer Biological Questions
Leonard Pease, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Chemical Engineering, Characterizing Cancer Related Nanosystems with Electrospray-Differential Mobility Analysis
Florian Solzbacher, Ph.D., Co-director, Nano Institute of Utah, Director, Microsystems Laboratory, Associate Professor, Electrical and Computer Engineering, Next Generation Implantable Microsystems for Personalized Medicine and Therapy.
John Hoffman, M.D., Willard Snow Hansen Presidential Endowed Chair in Cancer Research, Director, Nuclear Medicine, Director, Molecular Imaging Program, Professor, Radiology and Neurology, Huntsman Cancer Institute, University of Utah School of Medicine, Update on Imaging Resources on Campus
Henry White, Ph.D., Distinguished Professor and Chair, Chemistry, Ion Channel Recordings for DNA Sequencing and Cancer Diagnostics
Jindrich Kopecek, Ph.D., D.Sc., Distinguished Professor, Center for Controlled Chemical Delivery, and Pharmaceutics and Bioengineering, Biorecognition - A Bridge from Smart Biomaterials to Drug-free Macromolecular Therapeutics
Darin Furgeson, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Pharmaceutics and Pharmaceutical Chemistry,Microwave Thermal Ablation and Thermoresponsive Chemotherapeutics
Margit Janat-Amsbury, M.D., Ph.D., Research Assistant Professor, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Gene Therapy and its Role in Cancer Therapy
Wallace Akerley, M.D., Senior Director of Clinical Research, Oncology, Huntsman Cancer Institute, Cancer Needs/Opportunities
Members of HCI and the Nano Institute, as well as the university community at large anticipate highly symbiotic relationships to emerge from newly forged partnerships and the snowball effect that increased research results, and further funding brought to the university will generate.