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University of Iowa News Release

Aug. 24, 2006

UI Research VP Announces New Nanotechnology Institute, Director

Meredith Hay, University of Iowa vice president for research, today announced the formation of a new UI enterprise, the Nanoscience and Nanotechnology Institute at the University of Iowa (NNI@UI). The institute, to be directed by Professor Vicki Grassian, will include more than 30 core researchers from six UI colleges already engaged in more than $6 million of nanotechnology-related research.

Nanoscience, the study of fundamental principles of molecules and structures between one nanometer (one billionth of a meter) and 100 nanometers in size, is a logical field of study for UI researchers, according to Hay.

"The proposed Nanoscience and Nanotechnology Institute at the University of Iowa will focus on issues related to applications and implications of nanoscience and nanotechnology in environmental processes and human health. The institute will bring together a core group of faculty from the Colleges of Medicine, Liberal Arts and Sciences, Engineering, Pharmacy and Public Health," Hay said.

"The Institute will coordinate the ongoing efforts at the University of Iowa to more effectively take advantage of opportunities afforded by the National Nanotechnology Initiative and will build on research strengths currently at the University of Iowa," she said. "The goal of the institute is to nurture science and technology at the nanometer scale with a research emphasis not only on the fundamental properties of the materials but also on the environment and human health aspects of nanoscience and nanotechnology. I am happy to announce that Vicki Grassian, professor of chemistry in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and professor of chemical and biochemical engineering in the College of Engineering, will serve as institute director." Grassian also has a secondary appointment in the Department of Occupational and Environmental Health in the College of Public Health.

Grassian, currently involved in a study funded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to investigate the potential implications of manufactured nanomaterials on human health and the environment, noted that UI grant funding for nanotechnology currently totals over $6 million and has great potential. She says that the institute will provide administrative support to faculty and joint projects and programs, support joint research initiatives, sponsor seminars and conferences, encourage entrepreneurialism, encourage collaboration, connect to external organizations and support educational and outreach initiatives.

"This institute is not only about bringing current UI strengths under the umbrella of the institute, but also about nurturing the development of future strengths, as many of the core faculty are assistant professors just starting their careers and beginning their work on new and exciting areas in nanoscience and nanotechnology," she said.

Grassian added that the National Nanotechnology Initiative begun in 2001 currently has $1.2 billion earmarked for nanoscience and nanotechnology in President Bush's 2007 budget. She said that she expects UI researchers to compete for federal funding for a variety of projects.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

MEDIA CONTACT: Gary Galluzzo, 319-384-0009,