At 8:30 AM on a cold Saturday morning, February 12th, 2011, the NanoWorcester group had their first annual NanoWorcester Symposium at the f Massachusetts Colleges of Pharmacy and Health Sciences in Worcester, MA. Around 50 junior and senior faculty as well as students, joined together to focus on their common scientific interest, Nanotechnology. This symposium was organized to discuss advances in Nanotechnology which are changing the way scientific research happens and creating new possibilities and cross collaborations.
NanoWorcester is a group of faculty members within the Colleges of the Worcester Consortium (COWC) who share an interest in research related to nanotechnology . The goal of the group is to promote interactions and collaborations within the field of Nanotechnology.
The day started with Dr Reema Zeineldin, providing opening remarks. She challenged everyone to enhance interactions among colleagues and to start with fostering connections among everyone in attendance. These relationships are important to promoting the future of the field. Following Dr. Zeineldin, Michael J. Malloy, PharmD, Dean of the School of Pharmacy Worcester/Manchester and the Massachusetts Colleges of Pharmacy and Health Sciences , welcomed everyone. He thanked the scientists for their ideas and encouraged the group to translate their ideas into reality. The first talk was given by Dr. Davis Baird, Ph.D., Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, Clark University, Worcester, MA. The title of the talk was, From Laboratory to Society: Developing an Informed Approach to Nanoscale Science and Technology . He provided context around reliable and speculative ideas and how this translates into attempts to predict the future. He asked a provocative question of whether we should try to cure longevity? This made me think about the social role that we have as scientists and how our perspectives can change the world and what the impacts might be. The following program included a variety of different topics, all developed in the local laboratories of central Massachusetts. Nancy Burnham, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Department of Physics, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Worcester, MA discussed "Atomic Force Microscopy, the Eye and Hand of Nanotechnology". Robert Campbell, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, Worcester, MA, discussed "Exploiting Tumor Features for Therapeutic Gain using Cationic Nanotherapeutics". T. J. (Lakis) Mountziaris, Ph.D., Professor & Department Head, Chemical Engineering, University of Massachusetts Amherst, MA, discussed, "Direct Sensing of Biomolecular Interactions using ZnSe Quantum Dots". Sergio Granados-Focil, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Department of Chemistry, Clark University, Worcester, MA, discussed " Ionic transport through polymeric matrices". Terri Camesano, Ph.D., Professor, Department of Chemical Engineering, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Worcester, MA, discussed, "Probing Bacterial Adhesion at the Nanoscale".
Finally, the Keynote Speaker: Kevin O' Sullivan, President & Chief Executive Officer, Massachusetts Biomedical Initiative, Worcester, MA discussed. Moving Nanotechnology from the Bench to the Marketplace. He encouraged scientists and business people to collaborate and have the scientists to focus on the science and the business specialists focus on the capital. He discussed the importance of incubators to foster technology. These incubators are programs designed to accelerate the successful development of entrepreneurial companies through an array of business support, resources, and services, not the typical incubator that scientists think of, which is used to grow cells... Kevin enthusiastically shared his vision for commercialization of Massachusetts's academic and scientific research. He discussed the importance of working as a team and self awareness of one's strengths and weaknesses , to enhance an efficient entrepreneurial environment.
As a Graduate student in Biomedical Sciences It was reinforcing to see the recognition of the value of my ideas and that these ideas, if given the right environment, have the ability to lead to successful technology development and even a potential company. This day inspired me to think beyond my own research and explore opportunities to not just develop, but commercialize exciting ideas. I very much enjoyed , the quality of the science discussed and also the great environment and enthusiasm evident within the NanoGroup. Groups like this one, are fostering advancements within the Worcester area. There is a tremendous amount of energy and excitement with Biomedical Science in Massachusetts and I look forward to being a part of it!
Written by, Yuly Fuentes-Medel, Propel Careers Intern, PhD Candidate, Biomedical Science, UMass Medical School, Neurobiology Department