for Translation of Cancer Nanomedicines—a $10 million
pre-clinical research center with the goal of bringing together
scientists, engineers, biologists and physicians to develop
and translate new cancer care applications based on the C dot
nanotechnology. This includes altering the nanoparticles to
deliver treatment to melanoma and brain cancers, potentially
through the use of radioactive isotopes.
“What excites me most is the fact that our work on silica
nanoparticles is able to bridge the gap between fundamental
science and applications in cancer nano-medicine,” said
Wiesner. “There are not many cases in the career of a university
professor where the work has the potential to directly touch
the quality of life of a lot of people. This clearly is one of those
SORBENT SPONGES FOR CARBON
nother materials project with the potential to change
the quality of life for a lot of people is one that also
has the potential to reduce greenhouse gases in the
Carbon capture is a technique that can be used to collect
the harmful greenhouse gas carbon dioxide either at its source
of production, such as an industrial power plant, or directly
from the atmosphere.
Emmanuel Giannelis has developed a strategy for
capturing carbon dioxide by using a chemically-engineered
sorbent—a material substance that can absorb the gas like
a sponge. Giannelis is the associate dean for research and
graduate studies, but still finds time to conduct research in his
materials science and engineering laboratory.
He and Fernando Escobedo, professor of chemical and
biomolecular engineering, are investigating new classes of solid
sorbents. They start with a silica scaffold and then fill its pores
with a liquid amine—an ammonia compound that replaces one
or more hydrogen atoms with a substitute.
The finished material is a dry, white powder that can
absorb carbon dioxide and, according to Giannelis, can be
recycled for repeated use. He and Escobedo are also exploring
ways to convert the carbon dioxide waste into useful
byproducts, such as biodegradable plastics or solid carbonates
that could be used as substitutes for cement.
Scanning electron microscopy image of a pristine silica support before (left) and after (right) an amine is added. The result is a material with
the ability to capture carbon dioxide.
Schematic of a Cornell dot, showing the dye-containing core and
surface-attached polyethylene glycol chains. It binds to a human
integrin receptor to identify a tumor.