February 08, 2012
By: Larry Rulison, Business Writer
Source: Times Union
ALBANY — Scientists at the University at Albany's College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering recently received $5 million in federal grants, and more than $1.5 million of that will go toward the school's growing focus on biomedical research.
The money is part of $70 million in federal funding the NanoCollege has received over the past year from agencies ranging from the Department of Energy to the National Institutes of Health.
Among the NIH grants was $650,000 awarded to James Castracane, the head of the school's nanobioscience program, to create a tiny medical device that can be implanted in the body called a nano intravital device, or NANIVID.
Castracane's work on NANIVID is part of a larger collaboration of scientists from across the country called the Tumor Microenvironmental Network that was started in 2006 by the National Cancer Institute. NANIVID is designed to collect cancer cells as they migrate away from their original tumors.
Alain Kaloyeros, the chief executive officer of the NanoCollege, said the growing number of federal research grants "underscores the emergence of (the NanoCollege) as a home for game-changing education and pioneering research that target the most critical challenges of the 21st century."
Nathaniel Cady, an assistant professor of nanobioscience at the school, received a total of $732,000 in federal funding, including two health-related grants from NIH totaling $432,000 to study cancer cell detection and tooth decay prevention.
Another grant that should aid cancer research was awarded to Thomas Begley, an associate professor of nanobioscience and director of the school's NanoHealth and Safety Center.
Begley won $420,000 from the National Institutes of Environmental Health Sciences to develop a sensor that can measure how people's cells respond to DNA damage. The findings could lead to being able to better identify people who are more likely than others to get cancer, or help in the creation of drugs to fight diseases.
Begley is working with patients who get CT scans at the Stratton VA Medical Center in Albany to look at their blood samples for potential DNA damage using an electrochemiluminescence machine made by a company called Meso Scale Discovery of Gaithersburg, Md.