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NU partners on $55 million nanomedicine institute

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Northwestern University’s International Institute for Nanotechnology is collaborating with Nanyang Technological University in Singapore to establish the NTU-Northwestern Institute for Nanomedicine.

Both universities are putting in substantive investments in this multi-million dollar research institute that will focus on the medical application of nanotechnology.

NU officials say the medical field is an area in which nanotechnology is expected to have the most profound impact and benefit to society, and the new institute is poised to realize significant advances.

The NTU-Northwestern Institute for Nanomedicine will support a global group of scientists working on joint research projects in the areas of disease diagnostics, timed-release therapeutics and targeted drug delivery methods, which would greatly increase the efficacy of existing drugs.

Institute researchers also will design new methodologies, such as gene silencing and theranostics, to treat diseases.

Bertil Andersson, president of Nanyang Technological University, announced the collaboration this week at the annual American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) meeting in Chicago.

“This partnership with Northwestern and its International Institute for Nanotechnology is a testament to NTU’s growing reputation as a new powerhouse in nanomedicine research,” Andersson said. “The world-class expertise of professor Chad Mirkin and his colleagues at the International Institute for Nanotechnology in biodetection and nanotheraputics is a perfect match for NTU’s expertise in drug delivery systems and biomaterials engineering.

“The future in the delivery of drugs is in nanomedicine, which allows the medicine to be conveyed to the intended location that needs treatment,” Andersson said. “In short, it’s medicine delivery with a postal address.”

“This is a great opportunity to capitalize on the strengths of two outstanding universities to use nanotechnology to explore solutions to some of the most devastating medical problems,” Northwestern President Morton Schapiro said.

Chad Mirkin, director of the IIN, the George B. Rathmann Professor of Chemistry in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences and a scientific advisor to President Barack Obama, and Vinayak Dravid, IIN director of global partnerships, the Abraham Harris Professor of Materials Science and Engineering in the McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science and director Northwestern’s Atomic and Nanoscale Characterization Experimental Center, will lead the institute effort at Northwestern.

“We have enjoyed a longstanding relationship with NTU,” Mirkin said. “The commitment of both institutions in the establishment of this important new institute for nanomedicine will strengthen and expand the existing ties and provide a fertile foundation for exciting new medical advancements. We are very much looking forward to working with our colleagues both here and at NTU to launch this new endeavor.”

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