Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors

Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button

Home > Press > Rice student wins award for revolutionary MRI research

Abstract:
Fullerene-based contrast agents could allow first single-cell imaging

Rice student wins award for revolutionary MRI research

Houston, TX | January 18, 2005

The Nanotechnology Foundation of Texas has selected Rice University doctoral student Balaji Sitharaman as one of two winners of the 2004 George Kozmetsky Award for Outstanding Graduate Research in Nanotechnology for his efforts to create a revolutionary new class of contrast agents that could, for the first time, allow magnetic resonance imaging of individual cells.

"Balu is one of the best graduate students I have worked with in my 30 years at Rice," said Lon Wilson, professor of chemistry and Sitharaman's Ph.D. advisor. "He's already produced six peer-reviewed manuscripts that have been published or accepted by first-rank journals, and it's likely that he'll double that by the time he graduates."

More than 25 million patients in the U.S. undergo MRIs annually, and doctors use contrast agents in almost of quarter of those procedures. Contrast agents increase the sensitivity of the scans, making it easier for doctors to deliver a diagnosis. The most effective and commonly used contrast agent is the toxic metal gadolinium.

Sitharaman has created new forms of contrast agents by encasing gadolinium inside fullerenes. Fullerenes are single molecules of carbon atoms arranged in spherical or tube-shaped structures. By enclosing the gadolinium inside the carbon molecules, Sitharaman has simultaneously reduced the toxicity of the metal to near zero while boosting its effectiveness as a contrast agent.

One of Sitharaman's creations is a buckyball encasing a single atom of gadolinium. More recently, he has discovered a method of encasing as many as 100 atoms of the metal inside a short length of carbon nanotube. The resulting "gadonanotubes" are 100 times more effective as contrast agents than the best forms in clinical use.

In future work, Sitharaman plans to use existing methods of attaching antibodies and peptides to fullerenes to try to create a contrast agent that will bind only with diseased cells such as cancer cells. He is hopeful that these tissue-specific imaging agents might allow for the first intracellular, individual cell MRIs.

"I m grateful and honored by this recognition by the Nanotech Foundation of Texas and look forward to the benefit of our research to diagnostic medicine," said Sitharaman. Sitharaman and University of Texas at Austin student Aaron Saunders were named as this year's Kozmetsky Award recipients on Jan. 12. The prestigious award includes a $5,000 prize.

The awards are the first of their kind offered to U.S. graduate students working on nanotechnology. A Rice student has won one of the two awards in each of the first two years they have been offered.

Competition for the awards is fierce. For example, the scientific review board that judged this year's applicants used a 400-point scale, and the top four finishers were separated by only 42 points.

The Nanotechnology Foundation of Texas is an initiative funded by private individuals, corporations, and other foundations to accelerate research in nanotechnology by increasing the visibility of nanotechnology research, expanding research funding, and recruiting the best nanotechnology researchers from around the world to come to Texas.


Contact:
Jade Boyd
jadeboyd@rice.edu
713-348-6778
Rice University

Copyright © Rice University

If you have a comment, please Contact us.

Issuers of news releases, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.

Bookmark:
Delicious Digg Newsvine Google Yahoo Reddit Magnoliacom Furl Facebook

Related News Press

Possible Futures

Looking for the quantum frontier: Beyond classical computing without fault-tolerance? April 27th, 2017

Video captures bubble-blowing battery in action: Researchers propose how bubbles form, could lead to smaller lithium-air batteries April 26th, 2017

California Research Alliance by BASF establishes more than 25 research projects in three years April 26th, 2017

Geoffrey Beach: Drawn to explore magnetism: Materials researcher is working on the magnetic memory of the future April 25th, 2017

Nanotubes/Buckyballs/Fullerenes

Nanotubes that build themselves April 14th, 2017

Intertronics introduce new nanoparticle deagglomeration technology March 15th, 2017

Boron atoms stretch out, gain new powers: Rice University simulations demonstrate 1-D material's stiffness, electrical versatility January 26th, 2017

New stem cell technique shows promise for bone repair January 25th, 2017

Nanoelectronics

Researchers “iron out” graphene’s wrinkles: New technique produces highly conductive graphene wafers April 3rd, 2017

A big leap toward tinier lines: Self-assembly technique could lead to long-awaited, simple method for making smaller microchip patterns March 27th, 2017

Scientists discover new 'boat' form of promising semiconductor: GeSe Uncommon form attenuates semiconductor's band gap size March 23rd, 2017

UC researchers use gold coating to control luminescence of nanowires: University of Cincinnati physicists manipulate nanowire semiconductors in pursuit of making electronics smaller, faster and cheaper March 17th, 2017

Announcements

Ultracold atom waves may shed light on rogue ocean killers: Rice quantum experiments probe underlying physics of rogue ocean waves April 27th, 2017

Looking for the quantum frontier: Beyond classical computing without fault-tolerance? April 27th, 2017

Metal nanoparticles induced visible-light photocatalysis: Mechanisms, applications, ways of promoting catalytic activity and outlook April 27th, 2017

Arrowhead Pharmaceuticals to Webcast Fiscal 2017 Second Quarter Results April 27th, 2017

NanoNews-Digest
The latest news from around the world, FREE



  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoTech-Transfer
University Technology Transfer & Patents
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More











ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project