Sensitive Nanoparticle Sensors from Nebraska to be Promoted at BIO 2007

In Nebraska, research on nanoparticle sensors with sensitivity rivaling human fingers could give robots a delicate sense of touch. A computer-aided orthopedic surgical system could enable surgeons to do faster, less invasive, more precise bone cutting and alignment of implants, which may increase the life of artificial joints. And the nation’s only 10-bed patient biocontainment unit is setting the standard for academic institution preparedness, and antimicrobial drug discovery.

These discoveries and updates on dozens of other bioscience research and business partnerships are part of the Nebraska Pavilion at the BIO 2007 Annual International Convention at Boston May 6-9. A team of more than 25 Nebraska scientists, policymakers, university leaders and economic development experts will be on hand in Boston to demonstrate Nebraska technology, research and development to 20,000 international visitors.

Nebraska will have a pavilion showcasing its biosciences enterprise to the world’s largest gathering of biotech executives, investors, journalists, policymakers and scientists from more than 60 countries.

The Nebraska contingent is led by Bio Nebraska Life Sciences Association and includes representatives from the University of Nebraska Medical Center, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce, Lincoln Chamber of Commerce, Omaha Public Power District, the Nebraska Department of Economic Development, University of Nebraska Technology Park, UNL’s Office of Technology Development and UNeMed, UNMC’s technology transfer company.

Among the biosciences research at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln to be highlighted at the convention is a nanoparticle-based sensor with sensitivity rivaling human fingers that could help surgeons more precisely remove cancerous tumors or give robots a delicate sense of touch. UNL will also feature a recent discovery of how a “necklace” of gold nanoparticles can conduct electricity, which could lead to development of bioelectronics.

University of Nebraska Medical Center will highlight a revolutionary technology that advanced recently through a partnership between Allied Minds, a Boston-area pre-seed investment firm, and UNeMed. Allied Minds formed Purtein, licensed the technology from UNeMed, and made a $500,000 investment in the research. The recombinant protein purification technology has potential application in an industry that is $36 billion a year. Researchers also are working on a computer-aided orthopedic surgical system they hope will enable surgeons to do faster, less invasive, more precise bone cutting and alignment of implants, which may increase the life of artificial joints.

UNMC will also highlight its strength in biosecurity and biopreparedness, including the country’s only 10-bed patient biocontainment unit, laboratory data exchange, antimicrobial drug discovery, academic institution preparedness, and Multi-State Mutual Aid -- development of mutual aid arrangements among states for the sharing of resources during public health emergencies.

Lincoln and Omaha chamber and state Department of Economic Development representatives will present Nebraska as a state with numerous jobs, ample economic opportunities and a cooperative, supportive business and industry climate.

“Among the many benefits Nebraska offers businesses, the Nebraska Advantage incentives provides credits, including an R&D tax credit,” said Richard Baier, director of the Nebraska Department of Economic Development. “Combined with our expanding list of leading bioscience related businesses, medical and research centers, and a highly productive, skilled workforce, Nebraska stands out as a state for the bioscience industry.”

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