2:00pm Thursday, November 8, 2012
Earle Hall 100
David Bruce, PhD, Professor
Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering
Recipient of the 2012 Clemson chapter Outstanding Researcher of the Year Award.
2012 Sigma Xi Annual Banquet
Madren Center ballroom
The annual Sigma Xi banquet is typically held in April to recognize achievements by researchers during the past year. The featured speaker will be. Contact any of the Sigma Xi officers for tickets.
John Ballato, Ph.D
Professor, School of Materials Science and Engineering
Director, Center for Optical Materials Science and Engineering Technologies (COMSET)
"Everyone needs more fiber: The past, present, and future of optical fiber"
Dr. Ballato was the recipient of the 2009 Outstanding Young Investigator of the Year award
Dr. Xuejun Wen, Ph.D.
Professor, Department of Bioengineering
“Cell-Free versus Scaffold-Free Strategies in Regenerative Medicine"
Dr. Wen was the recipient of the 2009 Outstanding Young Investigator of the Year award.
Steven Klaine, Ph.D.
Professor, Department of Biological Sciences
Interim Director, CU-ENTOX
The Janus Face of Nanotechnology: Promises, Products,
and Potential Problems
In 1959 at the annual meeting of the American Physical Society, Richard Feynman delivered what was to be a prophetic talk entitled “There’s Plenty of Room at the Bottom.” His lecture discussed manipulating and controlling things on a small scale such as fitting the entire 24 volumes of the Encyclopedia Britannica on the head of a pin. Forward thinking in an era when computers occupied entire floors of buildings and society would be thinking “big” like going to the moon. Yet 50 years later we are actively manipulating and controlling things on scales so small that Feynman’s fantasy about the Encyclopedia Britannica has become reality. Indeed, while Eric Drexler is commonly credited with coining the term “nanotechnology” in the 1980s, Feynman is credited with heralding its coming. The ability to build products inexpensively with almost every atom in the right place holds tremendous promises for advances in virtually every sector of society. Smart drugs that deliver medicine only to cells that need it, strong yet light materials for automobile bumpers, airplanes and tennis racquets, and tiny reactive particles that clean water at a fraction of previous costs are just a few of the many applications of nanotechnology. Presently there are over 1000 products on the market that either use nanomaterials or apply nanotechnology in some manner. Drexler is also generally considered to be the first person to apprehend the potential dangers of nanotechnology and its threats to humankind. In his book Engines of Creation, he drew attention to the dangers posed by uncontrolled development of nanotechnology. While potential risks of nanotechnology have been largely theoretical, recent published research suggests that efforts should be increased to quantify the interactions of nanomaterials with biological systems; quantitative analysis of potential biological exposures and effects is needed, and prudent management strategies should be developed prior to widespread use of certain nanoparticles. This seminar examined the field of nanotechnology from its inception to the present and assess our state of knowledge regarding potential benefits and problems. Dr. Klaine was the 2007 recipient of the Outstanding Researcher of the Year Award from the Clemson University chapter of Sigma Xi, the Scientific Research Society.
Dr. Lesly Temesvari
“Amoebic Dysentery: Insights into Virulence.”
Dr. Temesvari presented a seminar on her work on the molecular mechanisms that are critical to virulence in Entamoeba histolytica, the protozoan parasite that causes amoebic dysentery and infects 50 million people annually. Dr. Temesvari was the 2009 recipient of the Outstanding Researcher of the Year Award from the Clemson University chapter of Sigma Xi, the Scientific Research Society.
Julia Frugoli, Ph.D., Associate Professor
“The Molecular Dance of Symbiosis”
Talk by the 2007 Outstanding Young Investigator:
The Department of Genetics and Biochemistry, Clemson University
Legumes, such as peas, beans and alfalfa, are used in crop rotations because they can grow in the absence of available soil nitrogen, one of the three nutrients most limiting to plant growth. This is possible because legumes set up a symbiosis with rhizobial bacteria that live in the soil. The plant allows the bacteria to live inside the plant root and provides the bacteria with carbon from photosynthesis, in exchange for nitrogen that the bacteria “fix” from the atmosphere. An interaction this complex requires a lot of molecular signaling on both sides of the symbiosis for the partners to identify each other in nature, change the normal development of the plant and bacteria to the accommodate the symbiosis, transfer the carbon and nitrogen, and regulate the extent of the symbiosis. My lab uses the legume Medicago truncatula to investigate how legumes regulate the extent of the symbiosis, and how plants in general signal environmental information from shoots to roots and visa versa in order to respond to their surroundings.