By Indiana University
Only a year after establishing the intelligent systems engineering program in the Indiana University School of Informatics, Computing and Engineering, the university has been awarded a five-year, $4 million grant from the National Science Foundation to advance nanoscale devices to improve human health, including fighting cancer.
The grant will create the Engineered nanoBIO Hub at IU, one of three “nodes” under the NSF’s Network for Computational Nanotechnology nanoHUB project, which provides scientists access to advanced tools for complex research problems. The node at IU will focus on simulating the interactions between nanoscale devices — which operate at the level of a nanometer, or one-billionth of a meter — and biological cells and tissues.
The grant is led by Geoffrey C. Fox, IU Distinguished Professor and interim associate dean for intelligent systems engineering at the IU School of Informatics, Computing and Engineering.
“We’re living in a world where people are increasingly ‘instrumented’ with wearable devices and implanted devices within the body,” Fox says. Examples include ingestible pills that allow doctors to remotely monitor a patient’s vital signs, microscopically small machines to continuously monitor blood sugar in people with diabetes, and customized nanoscale medical devices that offer physicians the unprecedented ability to detect and infiltrate cancer cells to destroy them — or even potentially “reprogram” them to behave like normal cells.
The ultimate goal of the project is to support the development of medical devices that “operate at the intersection of nanotechnology and biotechnology,” he says.