More than twenty journalists will be arriving in Cambridge this week to attend the Knight Science Journalism Program’s Nanotechnology 2015 workshop, a day-long series of lectures and discussions with top research scientists in the field, including MIT engineer, scientist, entrepreneur and inventor Robert Langer (pictured above).
The event, which will explore the latest developments in nanoscale technologies, is sponsored by the Kavli Foundation, the California-based philanthropy dedicated to advancing scientific research in a variety of fields — from astrophysics to neuroscience — and to increasing scientific understanding among the general public.
MIT researchers Paula Hammond, Vladimir Bulovic and Angela Belcher will kick things off during the first half of the workshop. Hammond is the David H. Koch Chair Professor of Engineering and her work harnesses the power of nanotechnology to develop, among other things, novel drug and gene delivery systems, including those used in cancer treatments. Bulovic, the Associate Dean for Innovation in MIT’s School of Engineering, leads the department’s Organic and Nanostructured Electronics laboratory. As a specialist in the properties of nanocrystal composite thin films, Bulovic holds over 70 U.S. patents for real-world technologies ranging from light-emitting diodes and lasers to solar cells and chemical sensors. Most of these have been licensed and utilized by a variety of start-up and multinational companies. Belcher, meanwhile, is the W.M. Keck Professor of Energy in the Department of Material Science and Engineering and Department of Biological Engineering. Her research focuses on developing new materials for energy, electronics, the environment, and medicine.
In the afternoon session, journalists will meet with Christa Watson and Prof. Langer. Watson is a Postdoctoral Fellow at Harvard School of Public Health who is actively investigating the ability of certain nanoparticles to cause cancerous gene mutations, along with other forms of biological toxicity arising at the nanoscale. Langer, meanwhile, is sometimes described as the most cited engineer in history, and his interest in nanotechnology spans everything from drug-delivery systems and tissue engineering to biomaterial design.
These competitive Kavli Science Journalism Workshops provide a select group of journalists with an opportunity to meet some of the world’s leading researchers, and to explore with them — at a relaxed and unhurried pace — the complex scientific and social issues they face.