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Advanced Materials Processing & Analysis Center | NanoScience Technology Center | Volume 5, Issue 1 • Spring 2012




NANOFEST FLORIDA Students and faculty explain Nanotechnology to the public and why it matters

AMPAC/NSTC at TMS Annual Meeting . . . . . . . . . 2 Seal wins Highest UCF Faculty Honor. . . . . . . . . . 2 UCF Graduate Forum Winners . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 Student News . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4 Faculty Profile: Qun “Treen” Huo. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 Staff Spotlight . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .6 Faculty Kudos . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 Message from the Director. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7

AMPAC/NSTC AT TMS ANNUAL MEETING Materials science and engineering professionals from more than 68 countries participated in TMS 2012, the 141st Annual Meeting and Exhibition held at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort in March. This year’s conference had a record turnout of 4,367 attendees, the highest number in 12 years. Together with the Office of Research, AMPAC/NSTC sponsored a booth at the exhibit promoting our educational and research programs and resources such as the Materials Characterization Facility and Advanced Microfabrication Facility. Student volunteers from the labs of Dr. Linan An, Dr. Sudipta Seal and Dr. Yongho Sohn assisted with the booth during the conference. David Letter (At left in photo), an undergraduate student working with Dr. Seal, won the 1st place poster award in the Undergraduate category of the Biological Materials technical division. He will receive a $500 prize.

His poster, entitled “Kinetics of Phosphate Ion Cerium Oxide Nanoparticle Interaction and Effect on Redox Activity of Bare and Functionalized Cerium Oxide Nanoparticles,” was one of only a few honored out of hundreds of entries.

SUDIPTA SEAL WINS UCF’S HIGHEST FACULTY HONOR Dr. Sudipta Seal was selected to receive the Pegasus Professor award, the highest honor given by the University of Central Florida to faculty who have made a significant impact on the university. The award was formally presented to Dr. Seal by President John Hitt at the annual Founder’s Day Convocation on April 4. Dr. Seal is the director of UCF’s NanoScience Technology Center and Advanced Materials Processing & Analysis Center and a Professor in the UCF Department of Mechanical, Materials & Aerospace Engineering. Each year, the university honors UCF faculty for their outstanding performance in numerous categories. The Pegasus Professor award recognizes a faculty member who has made an extraordinary contribution to the university community and has demonstrated excellence in teaching, research and service. Sudipta Seal joined UCF’s Advanced Materials Processing and Analysis Center in 1997. Since then he has been a leader pioneering innovative research in the areas of

materials sciences and nanotechnology, providing service through partnerships with high schools and universities around the world as well as inspiring future scientists. Dr. Seal has a long list list accomplishments. Highlights include receiving the Office of Naval Research Young Investigator Award, selection as the Alexander Von Humboldt Fellow and as a Visiting Professor Royal Academy of Engineering Fellow at the Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine in London. He has penned more than 250 academic articles in peerreviewed journals and has received more than $12 million in grant funding for his research. Dr. Seal was also one of the principal authors of the Master’s and Ph.D. degree programs in Materials Science and Engineering and was instrumental in initiating an undergraduate portfolio in nanoscience and technology through the NSF-funded NUE program under UCF‘s nanotechnology initiative. “It is very hard nowadays, in an era where emphasis on specialization is rewarded, to find faculty members who excel in all the areas of teaching, research and service,” said M.J. Soileau, vice president for the Office of Research and Commercialization. “Dr. Seal is undoubtedly one of these individuals.”

A paper co-authored by Dr. SUDIPTA SEAL is among Top 25 Hottest Articles of 2011 according to the Journal of Mechanical Behavior of Biomedical Materials Page 2

USING NANOTECH TO HUNT FOR HIDDEN PATHOGENS From UCF Today – Associate Professor J. Manuel Perez (pictured), and Professor Saleh Naser are researching a nanoparticle-based technique that will detect pathogens associated with inflammatory bowel diseases. Blending their research together into one effort, two UCF faculty members have created a scientific technique that may help doctors better understand diseases. Professor Saleh Naser and Associate Professor J. Manuel Perez have developed a nanoparticle-based technique that allows doctors to effectively and quickly detect pathogens that cause Crohn’s disease and other inflammatory bowel diseases. The technique was published earlier this month in PLoS ONE, a peer-reviewed scientific journal. It builds off of a previous polymerase chain reaction DNA-based technique that Naser and Perez developed, by adding nanosensors labeled with probes that detect and bind themselves to certain bacteria. Taking advantage of this nanotechnology, Naser hopes that this will help scientists better understand where hard-to-trace dis- eases, such as Crohn’s disease, come from. “Crohn’s disease is a controversial disease,” said Naser, who teaches in the College of Medicine and the Burnett School of Bio- medical Sciences. “There are different schools of thought about what causes the disease and the reason for the controversy is the lack of consistent, fast, diagnostic and reliable methods to find the bacteria in clinical samples. Now, with this technology we developed with Dr. Perez at UCF, we have a fast method, it is effective, it is specific, it is sensitive and ultimately it can give the doctor an answer within an hour and the doctor accordingly can give appropriate medication to his patients.” Naser said that, of the multiple theories of what causes Crohn’s disease, he believes that a bacterium known as Mycobacterium paratuberculosis, also known as MAP, is the cause of the intestinal disease. Having studied Crohn’s disease for more than 20 years, Naser decided to test the technique with blood and tissue containing MAP, in an effort to detect the bacteria with the nanosensors and progress his theory. “My collaboration with Dr. Perez started a few years ago. We joint-submitted a successful grant proposal to the National Insti- tute of Health and have been since working diligently on the development of nanosensors. Dr. Perez developed the nanoparti- cles and my lab provided him with specific probes and the biological systems to evaluate these sensors,” Naser said. “Throughout the process, we tested a large number of bacterial cultures as well as blood and tissue we obtained from patients at the University of Florida. We believe the concept of these nanosensors can be applied for the diagnosis of other microorgan- isms including bacteria and viruses. This technology really opened the door to so many possibilities.”

After tests were performed, Naser and Perez found that not only were they able to detect the bacteria, they were able to obtain the results much faster with the addition of these nanosensors. “These are very small particles, which we coated with DNA probes specific to MAP. The probes were then detected using a device which records the presence or absence of the bacteria in the patient sample,” Naser said. “The magic in all of this is that the entire process may be done within an hour. This is exciting because for the first time ever, we can report the presence of MAP in clinical samples in record time of minutes instead of weeks or months.” Perez said it is vital to make the process faster in order to help doctors treat patients. “It is all about giving medical professionals easy and reliable tools to better understand the spread of a disease, while helping people get treatment faster,” Perez said in a UCF Today article. “That’s my goal. And that’s where nanotechnology really has a lot to offer, particularly when the technology has been validated using clinical, food and environmental samples as is in our case.” Richard Peppler, the associate dean for Faculty and Academic Affairs and the interim director for the Burnett School of Biomedical Sciences, praised Perez, Naser and their research team for their hard work. “I think it’s wonderful. I think it’s an example of the

Drs. Naser and Perez developed a technique that allows doctors to quickly detect pathogens that cause Crohn’s and other inflammatory bowel diseases collaboration of faculty between two different units within the university,” Peppler said. “It’s showing how we can take something from the bench to the bedside and it’s going to improve the health for patients with Crohn’s disease and other GI problems.” Naser stressed that the real purpose of this hard work is to allow doctors to find these bacteria, leading to the elimination of the cause entirely through antibiotics. “Ultimately, the big winner in all of this will be the patients, because current treatment for Crohn’s disease is an anti- inflammatory, which are considered management medications; these medications are not given to the patient for a cure,” Naser said “Now, the patients can be tested for MAP using UCF nanosensors and if the patient is positive, then the doctor will be able prescribe antibiotics that we know are effective and lethal against the bacteria; this will lead to a cure.” Naser also said that he hopes the technique will eventually be licensed by a company that specializes in diagnosing and treating chronic diseases.

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GRADUATE RESEARCH FORUM WINNERS forum is an opportunity for students to showcase their research and creative projects and to receive valuable feedback from faculty judges.

Tanmay Bera, Materials Science and Engineering Surface Engineering of Liquid Crystal Droplets for Biosensing Applications Mentor/Co-author - Jiyu Fang, Ph.D.

At UCF’s 2012 Graduate Research Forum, Ph.D. candidates Tanmay Bera, Daeha Joung and Biddut Sarker each received best poster awards in the category of Engineering, Computer Science, Optics, Physical Sciences, Mathematics, Modeling and Simulation. The Graduate Research Forum features poster displays representing UCF’s diverse colleges and disciplines. The

Daeha Joung, Physics Reduction Efficiency Dependent Electronic Transport Properties of Reduced Graphene Oxide Sheets Mentor: Saiful Khondaker, Ph.D. Biddut Sarker, Physics High-Performance Short Channel Organic Transistors Using Densely Aligned Carbon Nanotube Array Electrodes Mentor: Saiful Khondaker, Ph.D.

STUDENT NEWS Zhao Wang will graduate with a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering this semester. He has found job placement as a Systems Engineer with Mercedes-Benz Research & Development North America, Inc. in Redford, MI. Zhao is the winner of the 2011-2012 University Award for Outstanding Master’s Thesis and a Ph.D. student with Dr. Aman Behal’s research group. His thesis, “LyapunovBased Control Design for Uncertain MIMO Systems,” was selected by the UCF Graduate Council from a group of finalists. This award recognizes the quality, content and exceptional contribution to the field of Electrical Engineering.

Two of Dr. Behal’s Research and Mentoring Program students were recently honored. Tyler Stigliano was inducted into the UPE (Honor Society for the Computing and Information Disciplines). Christopher Echanique was awarded the Young Entrepreneur and Scholar (YES) Scholarship program.

Four of Dr. Khondaker’s students won awards at the 2012 AVS Florida chapter meeting: • Udai Bhanu received a grand award in the Computational and Experimental Material Science category • Edwards Jiminez (undergrad, Electrical Engineering) received a grand award in the Materials Characterization category • Biddut Sarker received second prize • Feras Alzubi received honorable mention The event was a joint symposium & exhibition held by the Florida Chapter of the AVS Science and Technology Society (FLAVS) and the Florida Society for Microscopy (FSM). It was held March 5-6 in the UCF Student Union. 

The following students graduated in Spring 2012 with a Ph.D. in Materials Science and Engineering: • Cheng Li (advised by Linan An) • Yaohan Chen (advised by Linan An)

Dr. Hickman’s student Craig Finch graduated in December 2011 with a Ph.D. from the College of Sciences in Modeling and Simulation. His dissertation is titled “Modeling transport and protein adsorption in microfluidic systems.”

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• Tanmay Bera (advised by Jiyu Fang) • Virendra Singh (advised by Sudipta Seal)

FACULTY SPOTLIGHT: QUN “TREEN” HUO Dr. Qun “Treen” Huo will join 40 leading experts on noble metal nanoparticles at the 2012 Gordon Research Conference on Noble Metal Nanoparticles at Mount Holyoke College in June. In a lecture entitled “Size reveals all: biomolecule detection based on nano- particle size change,” Dr. Huo will present her research on the unique new technology invented and developed by her research group using gold nanoparticle materials. More than three hundred attendees from around the world will attend this high profile week-long conference. On April 23, Qun Huo was named one of the four finalists for the 2012 Cade Museum Prize. The four finalists were chosen from more than 120 entries. Open to all Florida residents, the Cade Museum Prize is designed to encourage innovation and invention by providing an incentive for early-stage companies to move ideas and products closer to marketplace viability. Dr. Huo’s entry is titled “Nanoparticle-Enabled Bioanalytical Technology.” She is the founder and president of Nano Discovery, Inc. Her company develops new technology and products for biomedical research and diagnosis using gold nanotechnology. The winner will receive a $50,000 cash prize, made possible by a grant from the Gainesville Community Foundation, as well as $10,000 of legal services provided by Edwards, Wildman, Palmer LLP. The three runners-up each will receive $2,500 of legal services. Three new graduate students recently joined Dr. Huo’s research group: Helin Liu from Materials Science and Engineering and Nickisha Pierre-Pierre and Shiyun Zhang from Biomedical Science. Dr. Huo recently contributed an article to the high-impact journal Chemical Society Reviews. The article, “Gold nanoparticle-enabled biological and chemical detection and analysis,” is co-authored by Dr. Hilde Jans, a research scientist at Imec in Belgium and former visiting scholar with Dr. Huo’s research group. The impact factor of Chemical Society Reviews is 26.583.

Dr. Sally Litherland (Ph.D.), Dr. David Decker (M.D.), and Dr. Inoel Rivera-Ramirez (M.D.) from the Florida Hospital Cancer Institute developed a nanoparticle test to predict the aggressiveness of prostate cancer. Since the early 1990s, when the PSA test (prostate specific antigen) was adopted as a tool for prostate cancer screening, most prostate cancer cases are now detected at early stages. However, due to the low specificity of PSA test, this test has also brought a problem of over-diagnosis and over-treatment. Over-diagnosis and treatment of low-risk prostate cancer has serious and long-lasting side effects: as high as 70% of the patients who receive radical prostatectomy treatment will suffer a loss of sexual potency that cannot be remedied by drugs such as Viagra. Through a series of studies, Dr. Huo and her research group discovered an interaction between molecules in prostate tumor tissue and certain human blood proteins. Utilizing this interaction, they developed a nanoparticle test that not only can distinguish a prostate tumor from normal and benign tissue, but also predicts the aggressiveness of the tumor quantitatively. Dr. Huo’s research group is now working with Florida Hospital Cancer Institute to conduct a clinical testing and validation study on the new test. If successfully validated (it is expected to be done in 2-3 years), this new test could bring about a major advancement in prostate cancer diagnosis and care. In early 2008, Dr. Huo and her research group invented and reported a new analytical technology named NanoDLSay™ (Nanoparticle-enabled dynamic light scattering assay) for chemical and biological sensing and detection. The initial paper has been cited more than 140 times and was featured in a special issue of Journal of the American Chemical Society: JACS Beta-Select 5 (2009). There have been more than 30 subsequent papers published on using this technology for a wide range of applications, including the detection of proteins, DNAs, virus, toxic metal ions such as arsenics and lead, and for drug discovery. Many of these papers have attracted wide media attention. Among these 30 papers, 10 are from Dr. Huo’s group and 20 are from other research groups around the world, including research groups from government agencies such as NIST (National Institute of Standard and Technology). NanoDLSay™ technology is licensed to Nano Discovery Inc. and the company is launching its first product to the market in early 2012.

Dr. Huo also published a paper on prostate cancer detection in the Journal of Translational Medicine. In this work, Dr. Huo and her collaborators including

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NANOFEST EXPLAINS NANOTECH TO THE COMMUNITY From UCF Today – From antibacterial hand gels to the special coating on vehicle tires that repels water, nanotechnology is increasingly used in daily life, but most people don’t know what it is. A group of University of Central Florida students wants to do for nanotechnology what Star Trek did for the term “warp speed” – bring it into the everyday vernacular. So students hosted NanoFest Florida 2012 on April 15, at the Alafaya Public Library in east Orlando. The event was free and for the general public. During the event, graduate and undergraduate students explained in everyday language what nanotechnology is, why it matters and the potential it has to change the world. They had some samples of items to show. “The students are excited about the emerging field of nanotechnology and nanotech-enabled consumer products,” said UCF Professor Swadeshmukul Santra, who is advising the students on the project. He wears many hats at UCF, working at the university’s NanoScience Technology Center, the Department of Chemistry and the Burnett School of Biomedical Sciences in the College of Medicine. He’s also a scientist who has found a promising new way to use quantum dots (a type of nanotechnology) to deliver cancer-fighting drugs to cells. So what exactly is nanotechnology? There are a lot of definitions, but most agree that it is the exploitation of the ability to control matter at dimensions between 1 and 100 nm

(nanometers), resulting in unique functionalities. Santra said the idea for the event originated from NanoFlorida, an annual statewide event that promotes scientific exchange, research collaboration, networking and industry-academia partnerships, which he initiated in 2008 as a student-led NanoScience Technology Center event for the first time in Florida.

“We thought, why not reach out to the general public to help them understand what nano is and WHY IT REALLY MATTERS,” Prof. Santra From medicine to construction and consumer electronics, the potential of nanotechnology seems endless. In Europe and the United States, there are already more than 1,200 products on the market that incorporate nanotechnology. Other products blend nanoparticles in an organic matrix to create nanocomposites. Ultrafine carbon particles, called carbon black for example, are widely used as a reinforcing filler material in rubber products such as automobile tires and as a pigment in printer toner. Other nanocomposites are used in clothing to help prevent stains. Amit Kumar, one of the student organizers of NanoFest, said volunteers were eager for the day to arrive. “Today nanotechnology touches almost every aspect of society, from computers, medical, space research to energy, but most people don’t know it,” Kumar said. “Awareness is very important, because home is the first school for children and hearing about this exciting science at an early age we hope will generate interest among them in this science field.”

STAFF NEWS: DIANE MALDONADO The UCF NanoScience Technology Center congratulates Administrative Assistant Diane Maldonado on her graduation from the Leadership Enhancement Program (LEP) offered through the University of Central Florida’s Office of Diversity Initiatives. This prestigious program, which ran from August 2011 to April 2012, is a consortium involving participants of UCF and EmbryRiddle Aeronautical University and is designed to provide leadership development opportunities for today’s educational environment. The program is open to women and racial ethnic minority employees at UCF.

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Diane worked with her mentor, Dr. Bill Blank, in creating and presenting a “Recipe for Success” Workshop to Enhance Professional Development Opportunities for minority students and other interested participants. She attended monthly seminars presented by both UCF administration and several external consultants relevant to higher education administration and worked to further develop professional knowledge, skills and abilities to reach higher career goals. In addition, the LEP scholars along with Diane, hosted a very successful Leadership Institute (Empowering Leadership for a Global Society) in the Spring of 2012 that included several workshops and discussion panels attended by as many as 190 participants. As part of the program, Diane also participated in the third annual Leadership and Diversity Conference in Orlando, FL.

MESSAGE FROM DIRECTOR SUDIPTA SEAL Welcome to the Spring 2012 NanoMaterials Newsletter. Another busy semester but with many faculty, student and staff accomplishments. Recently, our faculty won four Research Incentive Awards for their outstanding work. Congratulations to Dr. Aman Behal and Dr. Ming Su, who received tenure with promotion to Associate Professor. Our faculty research is well noted in many high impact journals, such Nanoletters, ACS Nano, and Chemical Society Reviews. Dr. J. Manuel Perez developed a technique in collaboration with Dr. Saleh Naser that allows doctors to quickly detect pathogens that cause Crohn’s and other inflammatory bowel diseases. The finding is published in PloS One. Our center is also focused on technology commercialization. Prof. Qun Huo’s NanoDLSay™ technology is licensed to Nano Discovery Inc., and the company is launching its first product to the market in early 2012. Recently, Dr. Huo was named one of the four finalists for the 2012 Cade Museum Prize. In March, Prof. James Hickman (a member of the AIMBE Board of Directors) organized a summit, “Valida-


Dr. Seal is pleased to congratulate the following recipients of UCF’s 2012 Research Incentive Awards: Kevin Coffey, Yongho Sohn, Ming Su, and Michael Leuenberger. These well-deserved honors represent the most RIA awards bestowed upon these 2 centers in a single year. Dr. Michael Leuenberger’s manuscript has been accepted for publication in Nano Letters. The paper, “Light-controlled plasmon switching using hybrid metalsemiconductor nanostructures,” is co-authored by Hari P. Paudel.

Dr. Aman Behal has joined the Editorial Board of the prestigious IEEE Transactions on Systems, Man, and Cybernetics: Part B. This is in addition to his role as Associate Editor for IEEE Transactions on Control Systems Technology.

tion and Qualification of New In Vitro Tools for the PreClinical Drug Discovery Process,” jointly held by AIMBE and NIBIB-NIH. I am very proud of our graduate and undergraduate students’ accomplishments. They are winning national and international awards in conferences and meetings. Congratulations to our Spring 2012 graduates. As they embark in their new career, I wish them the very best. Recently, our faculty and graduates hosted Nanofest Florida under the leadership of Dr. Santra. During that event, researchers explained in everyday language what nanotechnology is, why it matters and the potential it has to change the world. They had some samples of items to show. This kind of outreach is increasing general awareness in the Central Florida region. Congratulations to Diane Maldonado who was highlighted in the Board of Trustees meeting as an LEP scholar. LEP scholars including Diane hosted a very successful Leadership Institute (“Empowering Leadership for a Global Society”) in the spring of 2012 that included several workshops and discussion panels attended by as many as 190 participants. Go Diane! Again, I want to thank the AMPAC/NSTC faculty, staff and students for the privilege of serving as their Director. I wish you all a happy summer.

Dr. James Hickman organized a summit entitled Validation and Qualification of New In Vitro Tools for the Pre-Clinical Drug Discovery Process. Held on March 19 in Washington, DC, the workshop focused on understanding the process for validating new technologies, before being submitted to the FDA, that could be used in evaluating small molecules and biologics in the drug development process. Specific emphasis was placed on in vitro technologies that will augment or replace existing models, especially animal models. Qualification of validated technologies was also discussed in context of the new Regulatory Science and Engineering Initiative. The event was jointly run by the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE) and the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB) at NIH. Hickman is on the AIMBE Board of Directors. A follow-up 2-day workshop is being planned for Sept 17-18, 2012 at Lister Hill Auditorium on the NIH campus.


Phone: (407) 882-1455 | Fax: (407) 882-1462 | NANOSCIENCE TECHNOLOGY CENTER

Phone: (407) 882-1578 | Fax: (407) 882-2819 |

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NanoMaterials Spring 2012