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Nano 50 Award Goes to ODU Research Team for Second Consecutive Year

For the second consecutive year, the nanobiotechnology research group of Old Dominion University chemist and biochemist X. Nancy Xu has won a Nano 50 Award from Nanotech Briefs, the digital newsletter from the publishers of NASA Tech Briefs.

The annual awards program honors the top 50 technologies, products and innovators that have significantly impacted, or are expected to impact, the state of the art in nanotechnology. A panel of experts in nanotechnology and micro-electromechanical systems selected the winners.

Last year, Xu's work received an award for its advances in technology. In 2008, the award is in the more prestigious "innovator" category.

Single-nanoparticle photonics and the single-nanoparticle imaging system developed by the Xu group enable the direct characterization of size and location of nanoparticles inside cells and embryos.

Beginning about eight years ago, Xu, an associate professor, reported research findings that placed her in the vanguard of scientists using very tiny nanoparticle optical sensors to study living cells. She currently has grants totaling more than $2.5 million from the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health to support her work.

Xu was named in a 2006 article prepared by the National Cancer Institute as a pioneering developer of nanotechnology that can be used in the war against cancer. The article, titled "Mission to the Inside of a Living Cell," noted the benefits of studying biochemical reactions inside live cells, rather than dead cells. Similar studies in the past were conducted with dead cells or purified biomolecules extracted from cells. The article also gave the Xu group high marks for producing silver nanoparticles that are exceedingly bright and do not photodecompose.

In June, the Xu group reported in a national journal that it had discovered new and improved ways to synthesize silver nanoparticles that are particularly well suited for complex probes of live zebra fish embryos.

This article was posted on: July 8, 2008

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