Designer Nanomaterials for Sensing and Drug Delivery

MD&M East 2011 Event Coverage

Dr. Matthew M. Maye, assistant professor in the department of chemistry at Syracuse University, will present “Designer Nanomaterials for Sensing and Drug Delivery” on Wednesday, June 8, as part of the MD&M East University Medical Innovation Showcase. Discussing a variety of exciting advancements in medical device research and development, scientists from several New York–based research institutions will present their innovative technologies to new venture development and established industry professionals. Organized with the intention of fostering medical device innovation, the event aims to promote licensing, joint R&D, and venture funding for university startups and emerging technologies.

MPMN: What are designer nanomaterials?

Maye: Designer nanomaterials utilize the current state of the art in nanomaterial synthesis, surface chemistry, and nanoscale properties to design nanosystems for a particular function or goal. Today, researchers have the skills and tools required to tackle very specific problems; one such problem is that of designing multifunctional drugs. For example, using a nanoparticle, which is only a few billionths of a meter, or the size of a few molecules, we attach different molecules that perform different functions. We can design and fabricate a nanoparticle that contains a number of drugs, a cell-targeting vector, and an imaging component, as well as molecules that improve biocompatibility and uptake.

MPMN: How do your team’s nanomaterials differ from other nanomaterials currently in development? 

Maye: These nanomaterials build on the foundations laid by pioneers over the past decade. Since the knowledge base has grown so rapidly, it is now possible to design a nanoparticle with engineered precision. However, while seemingly straightforward, a number of different chemistries, reactivities, and purposes must be considered, requiring an integrated interdisciplinary research team.

MPMN: What are the applications and benefits of these nanomaterials in biosensing, bioimaging, and drug delivery?

Maye: Our work is aimed at designing nanomaterials that have a ‘modular’ and multifunctional capability. Imagine using the same nanoparticle to detect, image, and treat cancer.

MPMN: Given the proper funding and/or resources, when could this technology be commercialized?  

Maye: We are currently testing the limits of our approaches and performing imaging, drug-delivery, and cytotoxicity studies. Given proper support, our technologies could be commercialized in a few years.

MPMN: Why should OEMs attend your presentation or consider partnering with you on this project?  

Maye: All of our projects are created, tested, and implemented in-house by our research group. Because of this, we have exquisite control and are able to prepare nanomaterials with the highest quality. A partner would thus gain an interdisciplinary research team that understands the current limits of the field, as well as areas for opportunities. Our projects are highly modular, and our approaches can be engineered to meet an OEM’s specific applications or designs.