Nanotechnology | St. Louis Public Radio


A Washington University researcher holds a piece of paper coated with tiny gold particles that can be used to test blood for Zika virus.
Provided | Washington University School of Medicine

Scientists at Washington University in St. Louis are developing a test for the Zika virus that produces results quickly and don't require refrigeration. 

To test for the Zika virus, which is transmitted by mosquitos and is linked to birth defects, blood samples have to be sent to a laboratory, where a positive or negative result is generated in a couple days. The blood and the chemicals used in the test have to be refrigerated. Researchers at Wash U's medical and engineering schools created a test for the virus using nanotechnology, or particles smaller than 100 nanometers. It shows results in a matter of minutes.

Engineers at Washington University used locusts to test a nasal spray that could be used to treat brain cancer and other diseases.
Washington University

Washington University researchers are developing a device that could vastly improve how doctors treat cancer and other diseases in the brain. 

Delivering drugs to the brain is complicated because the three-pound organ is shielded by a complex network of blood vessels, called the blood-brain barrier, that keeps out foreign substances. However, the fortress of vessels works so well that it's challenging to provide medication through a pill or an injection.

The Wash U device could change everything. It would deliver tiny particles by nasal spray.

Provided by Washington University in St. Louis

The future of clean water may depend on developing technologies that aim to clean dirty water. With that in mind, engineers at Washington University are using nanotechnology, the manipulation of materials on a molecular level, to develop a foam that can remove salt and contaminants from water.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Feb. 5, 2012 - When Matthew MacEwan came to the fork in the road, he took it.

At 30, MacEwan is a Washington University medical student who is simultaneously pursuing a doctorate in biomedical engineering and the inventor of a possible medical breakthrough to speed surgical healing. Plus, he recently embarked upon an attendant business venture.

Talking nanotech with UMSL's George Gokel

Dec 16, 2011
(Image courtesy of the George Gokel Laboratory)

Nanotechnology is the science of the very small.

Nanoscientists manipulate matter at the scale of atoms and molecules – often ending up with materials that behave very differently than their macroscale counterparts.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, July 25, 2011 - Dr. Jerry Jaboin, a Washington University researcher and clinical physician, said he became a scientist because "it's fun, it's discovery." What he's trying to discover is deadly serious: better treatments for brain tumors.

At age 37, Jaboin calls himself a "junior scientist." He has just begun his scientific career in earnest and he's looking to make his mark. He doesn't know exactly where that will be, but he says he's sure it's going to have something to do with eradicating brain tumors.

Women who are diagnosed with breast cancer may soon be helped by a discovery made in 1880 by Alexander Graham Bell.

​This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: October 6, 2008 - Jingyue (Jimmy) Liu, Ph.D., director of the Center for Nanoscience at the University of Missouri - St. Louis, has focused much of his attention on making better chemical catalysts. His work embodies many of the principles important to nanoscience and nanotechnology

A catalyst increases the rate of a chemical reaction without itself becoming changed. For instance, enzymes are biological catalysts; that pepsin in your stomach causes the breakdown of lots of proteins, but doesn't break down itself in the process.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: October 1, 2008 - Nano-this and nano-that. Recently, anyone who follows science news is seeing the prefix "nano" everywhere -- nano(ro)bots, nanotubes, nanotechnology. We are told that nanoscience holds great promise for the future, and that the future is beginning now.