State Department of Health to Host Second Annual Workshop on Nanobiotechnology

Wadsworth Scientists to Focus on the Development of an Innovative Computer Chip for Future Use in Biological Research and Testing

Albany, April 24 – Building on Governor George E. Pataki's commitment to the public health and the advancement of state–of–the–art computer and business related technologies, the New York State Department of Health will host the second annual Workshop on Nanobiotechnology. This daylong workshop, entitled: "Interfacing the Physical and Biological Worlds," will be held on April 29, 2000 at the Cultural Education Center, Empire State Plaza, Albany, N.Y.

The Department intends to use this important conference to introduce the potential of nanobiotechnology to the next generation of scientists and engineers. Wadsworth scientists will focus on the development of an innovative computer chip for future use in biological research and testing. Nanobiotechnology is an emerging field that employs the ultra–small fabrication technology used for making computer chips to manipulate and examine biological systems.

The event is sponsored by Cornell University, the Wadsworth Center (the New York State Department of Health's public health research laboratory), the Nanobiotechnology Center (NBTC), the Cornell Nanofabrication Facility (CNF), and the National Nanofabrication Users Network (NNUN). The NBTC is a consortium of four institutions, led by Cornell, which was established as a science and technology center last year with a grant of about $19 million from the National Science Foundation.

Commissioner Novello said, "This conference builds on Governor Pataki's commitment to New York State and the use of state–of–the–art technology to insure the public health against food and water borne contaminants and emerging infectious disease. The Governor has committed up to $300,000 in matching funds to Cornell for the NBTC. This investment will provide New York businesses with access to new technologies and skills leading to improved products, new industries, and highly skilled jobs for New Yorkers."

Lawrence S. Sturman, director of the Wadsworth Center, said that "nanobiotechnology holds enormous potential to address a range of public health issues, from the detection of bacterial contaminants in food and water, to more rapid clinical laboratory diagnoses. This conference brings together the best of the best in the fields of nanobiotechnology, the high–tech business community and higher education to advance the communion of computer chip development and biological research."

Dr. Sturman further noted, "The advancement of nanobiotechnology research promises new ways of evaluating biological incidence of disease, identifying disease outbreaks faster, and finding better ways of measuring low–levels of toxins."

The workshop is limited to 100 participants to encourage group discussion. It will cover topics ranging from "Sorting Biological Molecules" by Harold Craighead, director of the NBTC, to "Laboratory on a Chip" by Terry Michalske from Sandia National Laboratory. There will be dual presentations such as "Sorting Cells: Identifying Subpopulations" by Wadsworth biologist David Lawrence and Cornell engineer Carlo Montemagno, and discussions of "Biomimicry for Microsystems" by Cornell neurobiologist Elke Buschbeck, who will discuss attributes of biological systems of potential use for engineering design.

Emphasizing the importance of educating the next generation of nanobiotechnologists, organizers have encouraged students and postdoctoral fellows to participate in the workshop and the concurrent poster session. They hope to attract students from the life sciences in particular.