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Indiana University Awarded $4M NSF Grant to Advance Medical Nanotechnology

Photonics.com
Oct 2017
BLOOMINGTON, Ind., Oct. 18, 2017 — One year after establishing the intelligent systems engineering program at the Indiana University (IU) School of Informatics, Computing and Engineering, the university has been awarded a five-year, $4 million grant from the National Science Foundation to advance nanoscale devices to improve human health and fight cancer.

The Engineered nanoBIO Hub will develop simulation tools to design nanoparticles that change shape based on the type of tumor targeted.
The Engineered nanoBIO Hub will develop simulation tools to design nanoparticles that change shape based on the type of tumor targeted. Courtesy of the Vikram Jadhao Lab.

The grant will create the Engineered nanoBIO Hub at IU, one of three nodes under the NSF's Network for Computational Nanotechnology nanoHUB project, which provides scientists access to advanced tools for complex research problems. The node at IU will focus on simulating the interactions between nanoscale devices and biological cells and tissues.

The grant is led by Geoffrey C. Fox, IU Distinguished Professor and interim associate dean for intelligent systems engineering at the IU School of Informatics, Computing and Engineering.

"We're living in a world where people are increasingly instrumented with wearable devices and implanted devices within the body," Fox said. "This award is a real vote of confidence in the school and an acknowledgement of the fact that our people are conducting extremely relevant, exciting work. To receive a grant of this magnitude only one year after officially launching an engineering department with programs in bioengineering and nanoengineering is a major achievement."

The grant supports efforts to develop and provide wider access to tools that simulate these nanoparticle-based devices' physical design; simulate and fine-tune their interaction with tissues in the body; and improve their effectiveness. IU researchers will also work to advance the platform through which scientists and medical researchers beyond the university can access the tools and the vast computing power required to run the simulations in a relatively user-friendly format within a web browser.

"This work puts our intelligent systems engineering program at the forefront of an extremely exciting, emerging field," said Raj Acharya, dean of the IU School of Informatics, Computing and Engineering. "The efforts led by Geoffrey Fox and colleagues will advance IU's reputation as a world leader in the design of these extremely complex devices with vast potential to benefit human health."

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