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Dec 2006
The NIH has completed its national network of eight Nanomedicine Development Centers as part of its nationwide Roadmap for Medical Research program. Staffed by multidisciplinary scientific teams that conduct research to understand and control molecular complexes at the nanoscale, centers have been opened this year at Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, at Purdue University in Lafayette, Ind., at the University of California Los Angeles and at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in Berkeley, Calif. The other four centers were opened in 2005.

The center at Berkeley is exploring optical switching technology for use in cells. Researchers, funded by a five-year, $6 million grant, will focus on creating optically active retinal cells in individuals with degenerative blindness. Scientists intend to attach the green-light and UV-sensitive molecule to potassium-ion channels and other systems and will seek to develop cell process control strategies, new photoswitches and viruses to deliver these switches to the desired cells. Biological nanomolecule control technologies developed at the lab also may have application in treating skin and blood diseases.

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