InsideODU: News for Faculty and Staff
Thursday, June 21, 2012
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Laroussi, Others from ODU Are Major Contributors to Plasma Medicine Text

Mounir Laroussi, professor of electrical and computer engineering and director of the Laser and Plasma Engineering Institute in Old Dominion's Frank Batten College of Engineering and Technology, is the primary editor of "Plasma Medicine: Applications of Low-Temperature Gas Plasmas in Medicine and Biology," a new textbook from Cambridge University Press.

Laroussi and three other ODU faculty members also are authors of chapters in the book, which is the first of its kind to explore the nascent field of plasma medicine.

Michele Darby, Eminent Scholar and University Professor, and chair of the School of Dental Hygiene in ODU's College of Health Sciences, and her colleague, Gayle McCombs, professor of dental hygiene, are co-authors of one chapter on dental applications of cold plasmas.

Lesley Greene, associate professor of chemistry in ODU's College of Sciences, is co-author of another chapter on basic cell biology as it relates to cold plasmas.

Laroussi contributes an introduction, and also is an author of three chapters on cold plasma sources, plasma cell interactions and the use of plasmas in the decontamination of surfaces.

Michael Kong of Loughborough University in England, Gregor Morfill of Max-Planck Institut fur Plasmaphysik in Germany, and Wilhelm Stolz of Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitat Munchen in Germany are co-editors.

"This is the first book dedicated exclusively to the emerging interdisciplinary field of plasma medicine," states the publisher's website. "The opening chapters discuss plasmas and plasma chemistry, the fundamentals of non-equilibrium plasmas and cell biology. The rest of the book is dedicated to current applications, illustrating a plasma-based approach to wound healing, electrosurgery, cancer treatment and even dentistry."

Laroussi is a pioneer in the production and biomedical applications of low-temperature or cold plasmas. These are gases in which low-mass electrons are supercharged, but not the much heavier nuclei of the gases' atoms. Conventional plasmas at atmospheric pressures are composed of supercharged atoms and are radically hot a lightning bolt is an example whereas the cold plasmas are safe to the touch.

Although the biology is not fully understood, cold plasmas have been shown to attack targeted germs and tumor cells without destroying healthy cells.

Earlier this year, Laroussi received the Merit Award of the Nuclear and Plasma Sciences Society (NPSS) of IEEE. It's the highest honor the NPSS bestows each year to recognize leadership and outstanding technical contributions in the fields of nuclear and plasma sciences.

Specifically, Laroussi was recognized for his "ongoing exceptional contributions to the biomedical applications of plasmas." His citation reads: "The (awards committee) cited (Laroussi's) exceptional pioneering leadership in harnessing the unique attributes of 'cold' plasmas to a variety of biological and medical needs, such as bacterial sterilization and selective cancer cell destruction. Researchers from all over the world seek him out for his insights into this complex field."

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