Nanotechnology for Health Care

Nanotechnology for Health Care

A Winthrop Rockefeller Conference

December 2, 2015 · 10:00 AM – Dec 4, 2015 · 12:00 PM


Pricing | Speaker Bios | Organizing Committee

The Sixth Nanotechnology for Health Care Conference, a Winthrop Rockefeller Conference, is a partnership among the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS), University of Arkansas at Fayetteville (UAF), University of Arkansas at Little Rock (UALR), U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and the Winthrop Rockefeller Institute. The conference was held December 2-4, 2015, and brought together national and international researchers and experts for panels, research presentations and workshops, including an intensive workshop focused on funding opportunities and strategies. The conference focused on human disease diagnostics, therapeutics and prevention using nanotechnology and approaches to developing international standards and methods for measuring nanomaterials and their biological impact.

The Nanotechnology for Health Care Conference offered an unparalleled chance to meet with and learn from leading experts in the field at the Institute’s retreat-like setting on top of beautiful Petit Jean Mountain. The conference also provided an opportunity to forge connections with regional researchers and learn what great strides are being made in nanotechnology research right here in the state of Arkansas. Speakers included Nobel Laureate Sir Harold Kroto (England), Wolfgang Fritzche (Germany), Alexander Kabanov (Univ. North Carolina), Jan Herrmann (Australia), Vincent Hackley (NIST), Debra Kaiser (NIST), Z.L. Wang (Georgia Tech), Cristina Sabilov (LSU) and Morten Jensen (Georgia Tech).

Conference Packages

Full package – $300
Student package – $150

(Both packages include lodging and meals.)

Questions? Contact Payton Christenberry at 501.727.6255 or

Speakers and Presenters 

Keynote Presenter

Sir Harold (Harry) Kroto, Florida State University



Harold Kroto

Sir Harold (Harry) Kroto is currently a Francis Eppes Professor of Chemistry at Florida State University, where he is carrying out research in nanoscience and cluster chemistry as well as developing exciting new Internet approaches to STEM educational outreach. In 1996 he was knighted for his contributions to chemistry and later that year was one of three recipients of the Nobel Prize for Chemistry. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of London and holds an emeritus professorship at the University of Sussex in Brighton, United Kingdom. The research program focuses on the complex range of molecular constituents in carbon vapor; the development of novel 2- and 3-D metal-cluster/organic frameworks as well as peptides; the stabilization of small fullerenes; and carbon nanotube based devices behavior.

Kroto obtained a first class BSc honours degree in chemistry (1961) and a Ph.D. in molecular spectroscopy (1964) at the University of Sheffield (U.K.). After postdoctoral positions at the National Research Council in Ottawa, Canada (1964-66) and at the Murray Hill Bell Laboratories (New Jersey, U.S.) in 1966-67 he started his independent academic career at the University of Sussex. In 1970 his research group conducted laboratory began spectroscopic studies on long linear carbon chain molecules with colleague David Walton. This research led to radio astronomy searches with Takeshi Oka and Canadian astronomers (Lorne Avery, Norman Broten and John McLeod) at the National Research Council in Canada, which made the surprising discovery that they existed in unusually copious amounts in certain regions of interstellar space. At the same time he developed flash thermolytic synthetic methods to create new metastable species and intermediates with multiple bonds between carbon and second and third row atoms (S, Se and P) and applied microwave spectroscopic techniques to detect and characterize them. The work on multiply bond carbon-phosphorus species (with Sussex colleague John Nixon) created the first molecule with a C=P double bond and the second with a C≡P triple bonded species. The general synthetic techniques developed opened up the exciting new fields of Phosphaalkene and Phospahalkyne Chemistry. Conclusions derived from the earlier radioastronomy breakthrough on carbon species in space led to experiments in 1985 together with Robert Curl, Richard Smalley and research students Jim Heath, Sean O’Brien and Yuan Liu at Rice University (Texas). These laboratory experiments, which simulated the chemical reactions in the atmospheres of red giant stars uncovered the existence C60 Buckminsterfullerene, the third well characterized form of carbon, for which he together with Curl and Smalley received the 1996 Nobel Prize in Chemistry.

In 1995, he launched the Vega Science Trust to create science films of sufficiently high quality for broadcast on U.K. network television. He is now heavily involved with GEOSET (Global Educational Outreach for Science, Engineering, and Technology), which is a program he initiated after moving to Florida State University. (Read more at and GEOSET seeks to exploit the revolutionary creative dynamics of the Internet (which Kroto calls it the GooYouWiki-World) to improve the general level of science understanding an awareness worldwide. Numerous universities in the U.S., U.K., Japan, Croatia and Spain are now contributing to GEOSET’s rapidly growing, globally accessible and freely available cache of science educational material in modular form designed to help teachers. A most exciting aspect of this initiative has been the revelation that graduate and undergraduate students are often exceptionally good at creating educational modules.

He has numerous awards including the Copley Medal, Faraday Lectureship of the Royal Society as well as the Tilden Lectureship and Longstaff Medal of the Royal Society of Chemistry. Other awards include the Louis Vuitton – Moet Hennessy Science pour l’Art prize and the Italgas Prize for Innovation. He holds more than 40 honorary degrees from universities all over the world and is a Freeman of the City of Torino. From 2004 to 2012 he was on the Board of Scientific Governors at Scripps Institute and serves on several other academic advisory boards. He was elected a Foreign Associate of the National Academy of Sciences in 2007. 


Esther H. Chang, Georgetown University Medical Center


Esther H. Chang

Professor Esther H. Chang is a member of the departments of oncology and otolaryngology at the Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center of Georgetown University Medical Center. Before joining Georgetown University, Chang held positions in the National Cancer Institute as a cancer expert, as a professor in the department of surgery at Stanford University, and as a professor in the department of pathology at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences. Currently, she is serving as the president of the American Society for Nanomedicine and she is also an executive board member of the International Society for Nanomedicine in Basel. Chang is the founding scientist of, as well as a senior consultant for, SynerGene Therapeutics, Inc.

Chang’s research effort has focused primarily on the molecular mechanisms of carcinogenesis and in translating this basic information into new clinical modalities. Delineation of the roles of various genetic factors, both oncogenes and tumor suppressor genes, in the multistep process of tumor formation is the key to improved diagnosis and effective therapy of cancer.

Chang has been a pioneer and a major contributor to understanding genetic influences on both the development and suppression of malignant tumors, as well as understanding the molecular basis of tumors’ resistance to radiation and chemotherapy. She was the first to identify human versions of a mouse viral oncogene and to demonstrate the role of these “ras oncogenes” in carcinogenesis. As determined by Current Contents, two of Chang’s seminal papers on this topic are among the top 100 most-cited publications in life sciences (1982-84). Her research group also was one of the first two teams to demonstrate that a mutated p53 gene (one of the most frequently altered genes in human cancer) is the primary genetic defect in a cancer-prone family with Li-Fraumeni Syndrome. Chang’s publication on this finding is among the top 10 most-cited publications in medicine (1991-92), according to Science Watch. One of Chang’s publications was selected as the recipient of the 2010 Herbert M. Stauffer Award for Best Basic Science paper in early cancer diagnosis. Recently, her research on the application of nanotechnology to cancer therapy, diagnosis and prevention was recognized in Science News magazine as among the most promising efforts in the field.

More recently, her research group has been evaluating the combination of systemic, tumor-targeted molecular therapy and more conventional radiotherapy or chemotherapy for treatment of cancers. These nanotechnology-based therapeutic approaches have been shown to systemically deliver the drug, homing specifically not only to the primary tumor but also to metastases, which are the ultimate cause of so many cancer deaths. This nano-delivery system, carrying the human tumor suppressor gene p53 (SGT-53), has completed a Phase Ia clinical trial as a single agent.  SGT-53 has been shown to be safe and have anti-cancer activity. A Phase Ib combination trial of SGT-53 and Docetaxel was just completed at Mary Crowley Cancer Research Center. A Phase II trial with SGT-53 plus Abraxane and gemcitabine for advanced pancreatic cancer is being conducted at Mary Crowley Cancer Research Center. Another Phase II trial with SGT-53 and Temozolomide for recurrent brain cancer is being conducted at MD Anderson Cancer Center. In addition, a Phase I trial of SGT-53 in pediatric patients with recurrent solid tumors is also underway at Texas Children’s Hospital. The same nano-delivery system carrying another tumor suppressor gene, RB94 (SGT-94), has demonstrated safety and anticancer activity in a Phase I safety trial at the MD Anderson Cancer Center.

Chang has more than 140 publications, is the inventor of 115 issued patents, and has served as a member of a number of scientific advisory boards for the National Cancer Institute, NASA, the U.S. Military Cancer Institute, and the Department of Energy. Her scientific findings have been published in prominent journals including Nature, Science, Cancer Research, Cell, Human Gene Therapy, Molecular Therapy, among others. She also has dedicated much time to the education of undergraduate, graduate and medical students. Chang has held peer-reviewed grants from the NIH for more than 29 years without interruption.


Jan Herrmann, National Measurement Institute Australia


Jan Herrmann

Jan Herrmann heads the Nanometrology Section at the National Measurement Institute Australia (NMIA). His team develops physical standards, instruments and methods for measurement at the nanometre length scale with a focus on the characterization of nanomaterials.

Following a doctorate in physics from the University of Leipzig/Germany, Herrmann was a postdoctoral researcher at the University of California, San Diego, and a research scientist at Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation before joining NMIA.

His current research interests include high-accuracy dimensional nanometrology and the detection, identification and quantification of nanomaterials in complex matrices.

Herrmann plays a leading role in the development of documentary standards for nanotechnologies, heading the Australian delegation to the Technical Committee on Nanotechnologies of the International Organization for Standardization, chairing its Australian mirror committee, and as a member of the Steering Committee of the Versailles Project on Advanced Materials and Standards with its strong focus on prenormative research supporting standardization.


Morten Jensen,  University of Arkansas


Morten Jensen

Morten Jensen, Ph.D, Dr.Med., is an Arkansas Research Alliance Scholar and focuses his research in experimental cardiovascular surgery on creating useful solutions with sophisticated technologies. The results obtained from his work are currently used in the Food and Drug Administration guidelines for heart repair devices. He is appointed to the Danish Academy of Engineering and has won several prices for his work; he was the youngest person since 1965 to receive the prestigious “Elektroprisen”.

Prior to joining University of Arkansas as an associate professor of biomedical engineering, he spent six years in industry with National Instruments (Austin, Texas) and 10 years at the Department of Biomedical Engineering and Cardiothoracic & Vascular Surgery at the University Hospital of Aarhus, Denmark.    

Jensen has published extensively on his work, in scientific journals, magazines and public media. In 2015, he was the third engineer in Denmark since 1479 to obtain the Doctor Medicinae degree, demonstrating significant clinical impact of the conducted research.


Cristina Sabliov, Louisiana State University


Cristina Sabilov

Cristina Sabliov, Ph.D., is a professor in the biological and agricultural engineering department at Louisiana State University (LSU). Sabliov is leading an internationally renowned research program in the field of nanotechnology, specifically focused on polymeric nanoparticles designed for delivery of bioactive components for improved food quality and human health. Sabliov is a recognized national and international leader in nanotechnology as indicated by her funding record (PI and Co-PI on grants with a total exceeding $20 million), publications (49 peer-reviewed publications) and by her presence at major events sponsored by the Food and Drug Administration, National Institutes of Health and U.S. Department of Agriculture. She is currently serving on the Institute of Food Technologists Food Nanoscience Advisory Panel and she is the chair of the International Society for Food Applications of Nanoscale Sciences. For her significant contribution to the field, Sabliov has received numerous awards over the years such as the LSU Distinguished Professor Award (2015), ASABE New Holland Research Award (2011), LSU Ag Center Rogers Award (2010), LSU Gamma Sigma Delta Research Award of Merit (2010), and the Tiger Athletic Foundation Undergraduate Teaching Award (2007, 2013). Through her research and teaching, Sabliov is determined to address the multiple challenges and many opportunities at the interface of bioengineering and nanotechnology, and to contribute significantly to the safe application of nanotechnology in food, agriculture and health.

Organizing Committee

Chair:  Paul Howard, Ph.D.

Alex Biris, Ph.D. (UALR); Michael Borrelli, Ph.D. (UAMS); Roger Buchanan (Arkansas Research Alliance); Ekaterina Galanzha, Ph.D. (UAMS); Rob Griffin, Ph.D. (UAMS); Ralph Henry, Ph.D. (UAF); Serguei Liachenko, Ph.D. (FDA); Gail McClure, Ph.D. (Arkansas Science and Technology Authority); Dmitry Nedosekin, Ph.D. (UAMS); Anil Patri, Ph.D. (FDA); Eric Peterson, Ph.D. (UAMS); Haio Qu, Ph.D. (FDA); Greg Salamo, Ph.D. (UAF); Ashok Saxena, Ph.D. (UAF); Holly Stehle (FDA); Shraddha Thakkar, Ph.D. (FDA); Vladimir Zharov, Ph.D. (UAMS)

Funding for this conference was made possible, in part, by the Food and Drug Administration through grant 5 R13 FD 005073-02, views expressed in written conference materials or publications and by speakers and moderators do not necessarily reflect the official policies of the Department of Health and Human Services; nor does any mention of trade names, commercial practices, or organization imply endorsement by the United States Government.