More hype than hope? #Biomaterials16

Congratulations to the organisers of the World Biomaterials Congress for having a high profile debate on the following proposition:

Nanotechnology is more hype than hope

I wish I could have attended as it is a topic I have given some thought… Thankfully, one of the attendees, Professor Laura Poole-Warren has done some live tweeting from the floor. So here is a storify.

Are StickyFlares smarter than SmartFlares?

Update (19/08/2015): Dave Mason has posted a detailed critique of this paper at PubPeer

Update (19/10/2015): We have submitted a response to this paper as a Letter to the Editor of PNAS. It is currently available as a preprint.

Update (16/11/2015): Inder Verma, Editor of PNAS, has decided that our letter “does not contribute significantly to the discussion of the StickyFlare paper.”

A quick post before I take off to Boston tomorrow for the American Chemical Society national meeting. I informed Chad Mirkin of my Monday talk where I will discuss the SmartFlares (talk on Monday, abstract). In his reply, he pointed me to a contributed PNAS paper they published in July on StickyFlares (Links: article, Northwestern press release). The questions that this technology raises are the same as the ones raised by the SmartFlares, as discussed in a previous post. Eight years after the initial NanoFlare paper, they are still not answered in this new article.

Check the latest results of our SmartFlare studies on the open notebook and data repository.

Elena to present at the MRS spring meeting in San Francisco

Just in case the last post made you think it is only the boss who travels… Elena Colangelo, who is spending two years of her PhD project in Singapore, will be giving a selected talk at the MRS Spring meeting in San Francisco, symposium GG: Foundations of Bio/Nano Interfaces─Synthesis, Modeling, Design Principles and Applications.

She will be speaking on Friday 10th of April. The title of her talk is: Characterizing the Organization and Investigating the Conformation of Peptide Self-Assembled Monolayers on Gold Nanoparticles: An Experimental and Computational Approach. The abstract can be found on the program page.

Not only, as the Rapha-z-lab rule demands will she write here about her meeting experience (she has done this beautifully before), the talks will apparently be recorded so you will be able to watch it through MRS OnDemand shortly after the conference!

250th ACS national meeting in Boston, August 16-20th

Thanks to the organizers (Kimberly Hamad-Schifferli, MIT, Clemens Burda, Case Western Reserve University, and Wolfgang Parak Univ. Marburg, Germany) of the symposium “Protein-Nanomaterial interfaces and protein coronas@ physical properties, biocompatibility and biological impact*for inviting me as one of their speakers. Abstract submission is now open. I have attended a couple of MRS national meetings, but for some reasons, I have never been to an ACS national meeting before. I am very much looking forward to this. Maybe leave a comment (or tweet or email) if you would like to meet up?

* symposium description:

The synergistic combination of nanotechnology and biology has resulted in numerous innovative approaches for therapy and biology. One of the biggest issues for effective use of nanoparticles in biology is the interface between the nanomaterial and its biological environment. When nanoparticles are introduced to biological fluids, the proteins and other species present non-specifically adsorb to their surfaces, forming a “protein corona.” The corona can block the surface of the nanoparticle, cause undesired side effects in targeting, biocompatibility, biodistribution, and other biological consequences. Probing the nanomaterial-protein interface poses unique challenges, as interactions are weak and constantly evolving. This symposium will focus on the interface of nanomaterials with biomolecules, cells, biological fluids, properties of protein coronas, protein- and DNA-nanoparticle interactions, as well as the impact of the nanomaterial-biological interface on biocompatibility, biodistribution, in vitro and in vivo toxicity.