Laboratory for Materials in Medicine Pan Research Group at Illinois
Bioengineering at Illinois Engineering for Life University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign



Course Title: Nanotechnology for Environment and Human Health: Risks and Promises

Fall Semester

Prof. Dipanjan Pan; Office 3311, Mills Breast Cancer Center; Phone 217-244-2938;; Laboratory for Materials in Medicine:

Course Description: Nanotechnology offers great promise for the early detection of a disease and facilitates delivery of drugs in cardiovascular, inflammatory, cancer and neurological disorders. Myriad of innovation has shown that at ‘nano’ scale (1-100 nm), unique chemical, physical, and optical properties evolve, which can be exploited to derive applications in biology and medicine. This current captivation of ‘nano’ can actually be tracked further back to the ancient civilizations when the first use of silver, gold or lead nano-colloids were attempted by Persians, Babylonian and Greek civilizations as crafts, pharmaceuticals and cosmetics.

In this first-year discovery program course, students (science and non-science majors) will be introduced to this fascinating world of nanotechnology and their numerous applications in biomedical arena. Examples of these applications will include, live cell labeling/imaging, theranostics (imaging and therapy), biosensors for in vitro diagnostics, stem cell labelling, immunochemistry, functional protein studies, microarray analysis etc. Furthermore, this course will discuss various aspects of health perils and consequences to the environment these particles could have. Topics will include, biological barriers encountered by nanoparticles, cellular and systemic toxicity, surface chemistry of particles affecting their clearance and distribution in living systems and their interaction with the ecosystem. Assignments will be given relating to current literature (lecture component).

At the end of the mandatory lectures (5 weeks), students will participate in a ‘hands-on’ research project (laboratory component) for 3 weeks.  The class will be divided into two groups, one to participate in a small imaging and/or therapy project and the other in nanoparticle toxicity project, both in Dr. Pan’s laboratories at the Carle Foundation Hospital and Beckman Institute. Simple pre-set experiments will be given for this component that will demonstrate phenomena discussed in the course.  Projects will be assigned for small group students.  Students will learn to initiate hypothesis driven laboratory work, collect and analyze data, draw conclusion, maintain a laboratory notebook and write a final report, including a team presentation to the class.

View the course details on the Course Catalog.

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