Nanotechnology research lands OU professor national recognition
His lab treats nanomaterials like LEGOs, and now OU professor Chuanbin Mao has $500,000 to further his research on nanotechnology in a biological context.
Mao was recently awarded the National Science Foundation CAREER grant. A maximum of 20 leading American scientists are chosen every year for the foundation’s CAREER grant.
The Scientific American journal predicts nanotechnology will have a powerful position in all fields of science, health and environmental policy, contributing about $1 trillion to the global economy by 2015.
The width of an average human hair is nearly 100,000 times larger than the width of a typical nanomaterial, Mao said.
At such small sizes, difficult problems arise when crafting nanotech, he said.
“We integrate biological recognition of biomolecular probes (peptides and proteins) and physical/chemical/biological properties of nanomaterials to develop new strategies for bone regeneration, bio-imaging/sensing, targeted drug/gene delivery, and targeted cancer treatment,” Mao said in an e-mail.
Mao is using biology to fight biology. He modifies the basic building blocks of life in DNA to code for expressions he wants to see. His lab is already witnessing results on cancer elimination.
Mao said he predicts nanotechnology could be in use in a clinical setting in as early as five to six years from now.