University of Calgary

Nanotechnology speaker offers glimpse of faster, smarter future

UToday HomeApril 9, 2013

By Marie-Helene Thibeault

The University of Toronto’s professor Shana O. Kelley visited campus on April 5 to share how her research team develops electronic chips used for the detection and diagnosis of disease. Photo courtesy John Loper, University of TorontoThe University of Toronto’s professor Shana O. Kelley visited campus on April 5 to share how her research team develops electronic chips used for the detection and diagnosis of disease. Photo courtesy John Loper, University of TorontoWhat if prostate cancer cells could be screened as part of routine and preventive blood tests?

What if we could save more lives by improving the way doctors assess donor-recipient compatibility for lung transplant in just a few critical minutes? How different would our world be if health-care providers in developing countries could screen for malaria in moments and right from the comfort of their office?

These are just some of the questions explored by Professor Shana O. Kelley and her team from the University of Toronto as part of the Kelley Laboratory.

On April 5, Professor Kelley paid a visit to the University of Calgary campus as part of a speaker series hosted by the Department of Chemistry.

Attended by a class-full of experts and students in the fields of nanotechnology, chemistry, bioscience, and biomedical engineering, the talk titled Nanomaterials for biosensing and bio-mediated assembly offered an overview of the cutting-edge research being developed by the Kelley Laboratory.

Put simply, the research group develops electronic chips used for the detection and diagnosis of disease and the study of certain molecules, like proteins or DNA molecules. The ultimate goal of this effort is to produce new tools for medicine and medical research.

“Disease cells typically have different molecules kicking around relative to healthy cells,” explained Kelley to the captive audience. “If you can get that molecular profile, you can then take a sample containing cells, apply those to the microchip and ultimately make a call as to whether there are any diseased cells there,” she added.

With her cutting edge research, Kelley has made heads turn within the scientific community and beyond, claiming the prestigious Steacie Prize and the University of Toronto’s Inventor of the Year award in 2011 and being named to Canada’s Top 40 under 40 list by the Globe and Mail in 2008.

“Professor’s Kelley presentation was very powerful in that it showed students how someone is applying fundamental chemistry and nanoscience research to very real and meaningful problems,” said Department of Chemistry head, David Cramb. “She’s one of those people who walks the walk and offers the kind of role models we want for our students,” he added.

For more information concerning the Kelley Laboratory, visit: http://biochemistry.utoronto.ca/kelley/research.html

 

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