UC Riverside

Mihri and Cengiz Ozkan

Mihri and Cengiz Ozkan

Using Nanotechnology to Combat Cancer

Reinventing the way oncologists diagnose and treat cancer is the scientific pursuit of Mihri and Cengiz Ozkan, spouses and faculty members in UCR's Bourns College of Engineering.

As part of the Center for Cancer Nanotechnology Excellence, a Southern California consortium of scientists, the Ozkans are developing nanodevices — 25,000 times thinner than a human hair — that will listen for tell-tale signals from cancer cells and then deliver chemotherapy directly to the afflicted cells without harming surrounding healthy tissue.

"Imagine having the ability to find the very first cancer cells in a patient's body and kill them with targeted therapies," says Cengiz Ozkan. "We have a lot of capability in our nano-toolbox. It's time to apply them to cancer therapy."

Both associate professors — Mihri Ozkan in electrical engineering and Cengiz Ozkan in mechanical engineering — are currently co-principal-investigators on a National Science Foundation nano-manufacturing study. The project pursues next generation devices based on nanotubes, nanowires and biological linkers. Bio-inspired assembly that adapts Mother Nature's way of doing things is a main objective of the research. The revolutionary approach could have a major technological impact on computing, storage and display applications.

Being on the forefront of nanotechnology and its applications to the biomedical sciences, the Ozkans are sources of the latest information in the field. Dr. Mihri Ozkan was one of fourteen speakers invited to the prestigious 2008 US Frontiers of Engineering Symposium, hosted by the National Academy of Engineering.

Read the Ozkan's article in The Bridge, from the National Academy of Engineering. .

Read more about the Ozkan's research.

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