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The MNIMBS Educational Mission

The corner stone of MNIMBS’ educational mission is to provide an interdisciplinary research experience that allows students to develop high-level competency in a broader range of subjects than is the norm for their Ph.D. discipline. Under direction of MNIMBS Associate Director, Professor Bradford Orr, we started the Rackham Graduate School Certificate in Nanoscience & Technology with NanoBiology emphasis in Fall of 2008 and have 16 Ph.D. students enrolled. Two PhD graduates with a track record in NanoBiology thesis research earned the Certificate grandfathered in. The program draws students from a range of disciplines: Applied Physics (4), Chemistry (4), Macromolecular Science and Engineering (2), Biophysics (2), Program in Biomedical Sciences, Biomedical Engineering, Chemical Engineering, and Electrical Engineering.

MNIMBS is now expanding its educational mission to include a Minor in NanoBiology for undergraduate students. We hope to have this Minor approved and operational by Fall 2010.

Eric Tkaczyk, Ph.D.

University of Michigan MD/PhD program

Nanobiology Certificate program


In 2006, Tkaczyk won the International Biomedical Optics Society Best Student Paper Award at the Photonics West conference.

We offer:

  • Invited speaker series.
  • Sabbatical series / Lecture series.
  • Regular Symposium: we hold our Ted Doan Symposium in Nanobiology every year. See below.
  • Monthly meetings for all MNIMBS members to share progress.

Graduate students:

  • Faculty to bring in GSRA students suitable for the Institute. Institute to support 2–3 with matching and bridging funds.
  • A Rackham Certificate program has been approved as a subspecialty in addition to a student’s focused Ph.D. degree.  The Certificate Program has been established in coordination with Program Chairs for Applied Physics, Biophysics, Advanced Computing, Macromolecular Science, Bio–Informatics, as well as Department Chairs such as Biomedical Engineering, Chemistry, etc.
  • Identify courses in various Departments.
  • A bi-weekly graduate student led meeting: students present their research.

Undergraduate students:

  • Introduce an undergraduate overview course to OVPR for funding; cross–linked LS&A — Engineering; course of 24 to 35 lectures given by multiple MNIMBS faculty (and possibly invited speakers).

All levels:

  • Ted Doan Lecture series for interdisciplinary nanotechnology applications in biological and medical sciences are held several times per year.

External funding:

  • Graduate students and Postdoctoral Research Fellows should largely be funded from grants and contracts as well as donor funding based on merit or specific need.
  • Training grants; Foundation and NIH training grants.

Herbert D. Doan Nanotechnology Symposium

We bring the larger campus community together with bi-annual Herbert D. Doan Nanotechnology Lecture Series and an annual Herbert D. Doan Nanotechnology Symposium, both named after the Institute’s first major benefactor.  We present these discourses to help further define our community’s perception of the possibilities for Nanomaterials and Nanotechniques for Biology.

To illustrate, this year’s Herbert D. Doan Nanotechnology Symposium took place on September 21, 2009.  The scientific sessions on nanomaterials and techniques featured presentations by world famous experts in Materials Science and Physics, including Professor Gregory N. Tew, Polymer Science and Engineering, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA, Professor Kathryn Uhrich, Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey and Herbert D. Doan Keynote speaker, Professor Eric Betzig, Ph.D., Group Leader at the Janelia Farm Research Campus of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Ashburn, VA. Professor Tew presented: “Capturing Protein Activity in Simple Synthetic Polymers.” His lecture highlighted two efforts in the biomimetic arena. He discussed how the design has led to novel antibiotics, on one hand, and cell penetrating peptide mimics on the other. Professor Uhrich discussed two drug delivery programs: “Polymer Therapeutics: from PolymerDrugs to Polymeric Micelles.” Polymers themselves are bioactive – they actively coordinate with binding domains on low density lipoproteins. PolymerDrugs are polymers that bio-degrade into therapeutically useful molecules. In addition, the polymeric micelles can be slightly modified for complexation with oligonucleotides and plasmids. Dr. Betzig presented efforts to extend capabilities in areas such as superresolution optics, photodamage mediation, high speed volumetric imaging, and deep tissue imaging. Optical microscopy has been instrumental in studies of the structure and function of biological systems for centuries:

    "We can at least dream now about being able to see within the cell on the 

     molecular level, which is where all the action is. If we can do that, and study

     dynamics at that level, our understanding of cell biology and molecular biology

     should skyrocket."

     Eric Betzig, PhD



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