Texas (April 18, 2005) – An international trio of scientists,
including a chemist from The University of Texas at
Dallas (UTD), has won a three-year, $1.1-million grant
from a French science foundation to conduct collaborative
research of nanoparticles, with an emphasis on possible
bio-medical applications of such particles and their
potential effects on the human body.
Gregg R. Dieckmann, assistant professor of chemistry
at UTD, is one of the recipients of a Young Investigators
Award from the Human Frontier Science Program, an
organization located in Strasbourg, France. Dieckmann
will share the award money with Dr. Alan B. Dalton,
a lecturer in the Department of Physics at the University
of Surrey in England, and Dr. Johnny Coleman, a lecturer
in the Physics Department of the University of Dublin
provided by the program support basic research in
the life sciences, with an emphasis on novel, innovative
approaches that involve scientific exchanges across
both national and disciplinary boundaries. Grant recipients,
all of whom are promising scientists early in their
careers, are expected to develop new lines of research
through their collaboration.
and his colleagues plan to design and create proteins
that will interact with carbon nanotubes, cylinders
made of graphite that are many thousands of times
thinner than a human hair and have remarkable electrical,
thermal and structural properties. The proteins, amino
acid sequences known as peptides, will be used to
coat the nanotubes to allow them to be separated and
more easily manipulated, as well as to explore their
use in a range of molecular medical applications.
aspect of our research will involve targeting peptide-wrapped
carbon nanotubes to specific cell types, with the
intent of using the thermal properties of the nanotubes
to destroy the targeted cells,” Dieckmann said. “If
successful, the research could lead to new, non-invasive
treatments for cancer and other diseases.”
trio of researchers also will assess what, if any,
toxicological effects the peptide-wrapped carbon nanotubes
have on living cells.
hopes that by wrapping carbon nanotubes with peptides,
the resulting combination will become more “bio-friendly,”
thus expanding possible uses in the human body.
expect to advance the understanding of the synthetic-biological
materials interface for molecular medical applications,”
he said. “This work should have wide-ranging impact
in the life sciences, especially where nanoparticles
are used as in vivo imaging agents, chemical sensors,
drug delivery devices and artificial tissues.”
will be assisted in his research by other faculty
members associated with the university’s Bio-Nanotechnology
Group, including Dr. Ray H. Baughman of the UTD NanoTech
Institute and Chemistry Department, Dr. Rockford K.
Draper of the Molecular and Cell Biology and Chemistry
Departments, and Dr. Inga H. Musselman and Dr. Paul
Pantano, both of the Chemistry Department.
joined the faculty of UTD in 1999. He earned a Ph.D.
degree and an M.S. degree, both in chemistry, from
the University of Michigan, and a B.A. degree, with
a dual major in chemistry and computer science, from
DePauw University. He did postdoctoral work in biochemistry
and biophysics at the University of Pennsylvania.
University of Texas at Dallas, located at the convergence
of Richardson, Plano and Dallas in the heart of the
complex of major multinational technology corporations
known as the Telecom Corridor®, enrolls more than
14,000 students. The school’s freshman class traditionally
stands at the forefront of Texas state universities
in terms of average SAT scores. The university offers
a broad assortment of bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral
degree programs. For additional information about
UTD, please visit the university’s web site at www.utdallas.edu.