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University of Iowa News Release


Feb. 26, 2008

College of Engineering establishes international, virtual nanotech center

Researchers at the University of Iowa College of Engineering have received a two-year, $70,000 grant from the Indo-U.S. Science and Technology Forum (IUSSTF) to help establish an international, virtual nanotechnology center.

Formally known as the Knowledge R&D Networked Centre for Nanoparticle Aerosol Science and Technology (NAST), the center will operate as a partnership among the UI College of Engineering; the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay; the Centre for Development of Advanced Computing, Pune, India; Washington University, St. Louis; and the University of Maryland, College Park.

Nanotechnology involves the creation and application of molecules and structures between one nanometer (one billionth of a meter) and 100 nanometers in size, far smaller than the width of a human hair.

Greg Carmichael, center co-principal investigator and College of Engineering associate dean for research and graduate studies, said that the partnership will study the manufacture and use of nanoparticles in the pharmaceutical industry and the potential climate and health effects of nanoparticles in the environment.

"There is currently great interest in better understanding the fate of these particles in the environment and their impacts on climate and health," Carmichael said. "The activities in the center build upon and expand our ongoing research related to the study of particles in Asia conducted under the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) atmospheric brown cloud project."

Carmichael, who also serves as professor of chemical and biochemical engineering and co-director of the Center for Global and Regional Environmental Research (CGRER), said that the goal of the center is to establish long-term research and training collaborations. In addition, matching funds from private and public sources are expected to support the center's modest start-up grant. He added that the idea for the site grew out of a December 2005 planning workshop held in Mumbai, India.

The center is designed to support College of Engineering research initiatives, including interdisciplinary activities centered in the Nanoscience and Nanotechnology Institute at Iowa and at CGRER, founded in 1990 to promote interdisciplinary study of global environmental change. The Nanoscience and Nanotechnology Institute at Iowa was formed in 2006 as an interdisciplinary center for nanotechnology research under the direction of Vicki Grassian, professor of chemistry in the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and professor of chemical and biochemical engineering in the College of Engineering.

The Indo-U.S. Science and Technology Forum (IUSSTF), established under an agreement between the governments of India and the United States of America in March 2000, is an autonomous, not-for-profit society that promotes and catalyzes Indo-U.S. bilateral collaborations in science, technology, engineering and biomedical research through substantive interaction among government, academia and industry. As a grant-making organization, IUSSTF has as its principle objectives to provide opportunities, to exchange ideas, information, skills and technologies, and to collaborate on scientific and technological endeavors of mutual interest that can translate the power of science for the benefit of mankind at large.

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,