Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Bionanotechnology has new face, world-class future at Florida State

20.04.2010
Imagine the marriage of hard metals or semiconductors to soft organic or biological products. Picture the strange, wonderful offspring –– hybrid materials never conceived by Mother Nature.

The applications in medicine and manufacturing are staggering, says biologist Steven Lenhert, the newest faculty face of nanoscience at The Florida State University.

How about a mobile phone fitted with a "lab on a chip" that can diagnose illness? That and much more are real possibilities, according to Lenhert.

"Nanotechnology is already saving lives, and will be crucial to the sustainability of life as we know it on Earth," he said.

Lenhert is the lead author of a groundbreaking paper published in the April 2010 edition of Nature Nanotechnology –– the discipline's premier journal.

At age 32, he is internationally recognized for his innovative work in the evolving field of bionanotechnology –– the union of biology and nanotechnology –– and a related process, Dip-Pen Nanolithography (DPN), which uses a sharp, pen-like device and "ink" to "write" nanoscale patterns on solid surfaces. Both are capable of producing materials with enormous potential not only for diagnostic applications in health care but also for virtually any field that uses materials, from tissue engineering to drug discovery to computer chip fabrication.

In other words, it is big-deal technology on a nanoscale. Nanotechnology encompasses objects that measure just 100 nanometers or less in at least one of their dimensions. One nanometer equals a billionth of a meter.

"Think of one nanometer as the length that a hair grows in one second," Lenhert said.

Florida State hired Lenhert to further enhance the interdisciplinary cluster of faculty who form the Integrative NanoScience Institute (INSI) –– a key part of the university's ambitious Pathways of Excellence initiative. His cutting-edge work in nanobiology is expected to serve as an ideal complement to the materials science and engineering research already underway there.

Together, they mean to make the institute a world-class bionanotechnology center.

As an INSI member, Lenhert will collaborate on the Institute's cutting-edge research with distinguished faculty from cell and molecular biology, chemistry and biochemistry, materials science, chemical and biomedical engineering, and physics.

The paper he and coworkers published ("Lipid multilayer gratings") in Nature Nanotechnology describes a DPN-based technique he devised at his former institutions, Germany's University of Muenster and Karlsruhe Institute of Technology. The technique has promising biological applications. It enables the color-coded detection of various molecules through diffraction of light and thin, nanoscale layers of lipids.

"We ended up with a fundamentally new class of material –– in effect, a biometamaterial, which is a biomaterial that doesn't exist in nature," Lenhert said.

"It acts as a biosensor, which responds to the presence of a biological agent by combining a sensitive biological element with a physical device," he said. "Our biosensor actually makes the physical device out of the biological element itself.

"The closest real-world application for this material is in medical diagnostics," Lenhert said. "The idea would be to have a portable, affordable and disposable chip that could allow your mobile phone to diagnose medical conditions that currently require a visit to a doctor and samples being sent to a laboratory. This concept is known as 'lab on a chip,' and it could analyze, say, blood or urine. A home pregnancy test is a similar example that already works, but other kinds of tests still need actual, advanced laboratories."

Lenhert is a chess master who plays competitively, when he's not in his laboratory. Born in Salt Lake City, he received his doctoral degree in 2004 from the University of Muenster. Until recently, he was leading a nanoscience research group in Germany. Then, at a conference in 2009, he came across a Florida State flyer about the Integrated NanoScience Institute.

"It contained what I considered to be the perfect description of my scientific motivation," Lenhert said. "Now, here I am. What's most exciting and impressive to me is the way all the INSI members, from various FSU departments, suddenly feel right at home together because of the word 'nanoscience.'

"As a graduate student I was lucky to be able to work as a bridge between different departments, including biology, medicine, chemistry and physics," he said. "I realized that a lot of the solutions to a particular problem might already exist just across a street. That's why I like the INSI cluster at Florida State, because it is based on this principle."

"Steve Lenhert is not a traditional biologist — he is doing tomorrow's biology today," said FSU Professor Bryant Chase, chairman of the biological science department.

"His training in nanotechnology as well as biology allows him to answer biological questions through novel experiments that could not have been performed before," Chase said. "He is designing new tools with unprecedented applications in science and medicine. He also participates in an initiative called 'NanoProfessor,' which teaches faculty how to make nanoscience more accessible and engaging for undergraduate students. Steve is a 'wunderkind.'"

Learn more about Florida State's Integrative NanoScience Institute at http://insi.fsu.edu/

Steven Lenhert | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.bio.fsu.edu

More articles from Interdisciplinary Research:

nachricht Body Talk: A New Crowdshaping Technology Uses Words to Create Accurate 3D Body Models
27.07.2016 | Max-Planck-Institut für Intelligente Systeme

nachricht When the Brain Grows, the IQ Rises
16.02.2016 | Technische Universität Chemnitz

All articles from Interdisciplinary Research >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: OLED microdisplays in data glasses for improved human-machine interaction

The Fraunhofer Institute for Organic Electronics, Electron Beam and Plasma Technology FEP has been developing various applications for OLED microdisplays based on organic semiconductors. By integrating the capabilities of an image sensor directly into the microdisplay, eye movements can be recorded by the smart glasses and utilized for guidance and control functions, as one example. The new design will be debuted at Augmented World Expo Europe (AWE) in Berlin at Booth B25, October 18th – 19th.

“Augmented-reality” and “wearables” have become terms we encounter almost daily. Both can make daily life a little simpler and provide valuable assistance for...

Im Focus: Artificial Intelligence Helps in the Discovery of New Materials

With the help of artificial intelligence, chemists from the University of Basel in Switzerland have computed the characteristics of about two million crystals made up of four chemical elements. The researchers were able to identify 90 previously unknown thermodynamically stable crystals that can be regarded as new materials. They report on their findings in the scientific journal Physical Review Letters.

Elpasolite is a glassy, transparent, shiny and soft mineral with a cubic crystal structure. First discovered in El Paso County (Colorado, USA), it can also be...

Im Focus: Complex hardmetal tools out of the 3D printer

For the first time, Fraunhofer IKTS shows additively manufactured hardmetal tools at WorldPM 2016 in Hamburg. Mechanical, chemical as well as a high heat resistance and extreme hardness are required from tools that are used in mechanical and automotive engineering or in plastics and building materials industry. Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Ceramic Technologies and Systems IKTS in Dresden managed the production of complex hardmetal tools via 3D printing in a quality that are in no way inferior to conventionally produced high-performance tools.

Fraunhofer IKTS counts decades of proven expertise in the development of hardmetals. To date, reliable cutting, drilling, pressing and stamping tools made of...

Im Focus: Launch of New Industry Working Group for Process Control in Laser Material Processing

At AKL’16, the International Laser Technology Congress held in May this year, interest in the topic of process control was greater than expected. Appropriately, the event was also used to launch the Industry Working Group for Process Control in Laser Material Processing. The group provides a forum for representatives from industry and research to initiate pre-competitive projects and discuss issues such as standards, potential cost savings and feasibility.

In the age of industry 4.0, laser technology is firmly established within manufacturing. A wide variety of laser techniques – from USP ablation and additive...

Im Focus: New laser joining technologies at ‘K 2016’ trade fair

Every three years, the plastics industry gathers at K, the international trade fair for plastics and rubber in Düsseldorf. The Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will also be attending again and presenting many innovative technologies, such as for joining plastics and metals using ultrashort pulse lasers. From October 19 to 26, you can find the Fraunhofer ILT at the joint Fraunhofer booth SC01 in Hall 7.

K is the world’s largest trade fair for the plastics and rubber industry. As in previous years, the organizers are expecting 3,000 exhibitors and more than...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Experts from industry and academia discuss the future mobile telecommunications standard 5G

23.09.2016 | Event News

ICPE in Graz for the seventh time

20.09.2016 | Event News

Using mathematical models to understand our brain

16.09.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

Chains of nanogold – forged with atomic precision

23.09.2016 | Life Sciences

New leukemia treatment offers hope

23.09.2016 | Health and Medicine

Self-assembled nanostructures hit their target

23.09.2016 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>