On the 17th of August CSCT student James Tyson presented his research at the 2014 RSC Challenges in Nanoscience Conference in San Diego. Attendance at the conference was funded in part due to the successful award of two grants from the RSC and the Cancer Research @ Bath (CR@B) network.
The purpose of the meeting was to bring together distinguished international speakers to discuss recent advances in the field of nanoscience. This year's meeting was held at the University of San Diego (UCSD) in the coastal town of La Jolla, where the campus is unique in its establishment of a department dedicated exclusively to Nanoengineering.
The conference itself lasted four days and covered areas as diverse as bionanotechnology, energy and catalysis, self-assembly & the preparation of new materials. I was fortunate enough to present a poster discussing my research, which is associated with the fabrication of graphene/fluorophore based imaging probes for prostate cancer. As a result I had the pleasure of discussing the value of self-assembly in developing functional carbon nanostructures for applications such as solar energy conversion devices, electronics and imaging agents. Some of the more exciting talks covered the development of nanostructured assemblies (e.g. molecular DNA devices) as a means of characterising intracellular phenomena, such as changes in local pH and temperature. The understanding of the complex processes involved in the cellular environment could go a long way towards improving the therapy and diagnosis of a host of different diseases. The broad range of topics discussed managed to demonstrate that the controlled development and manipulation of various nanostructures in conjugation with other functional molecules can serve to address sustainability challenges in healthcare, catalysis and energy conversion.
Beyond the purely academic agenda, one of the highlights of the conference was the recording of a radio discussion by the BBC World Service. The recording challenged a panel of academics, journalists, philosophers and the conference attendees to define the scope of nanotechnology with respect to global technological challenges. For those interested in listening to the broadcast, it is available here.
I thoroughly enjoyed my stay in San Diego and the opportunity to discuss my work amongst eminent professionals in the area of nanoscience. I wholeheartedly recommend the UCSD and the town of La Jolla to anyone considering a trip.