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August 25, 2005

Dr. Abdulqader Al Khayat, Executive Director, Dubai Biotechnology and Research Park (DuBiotech), 8/24/05


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The Dubai Biotechnology and Research Park (DuBiotech) is a free zone dedicated to the biotechnology industry. DuBiotech aims to be a Center of Excellence in Biotechnology, bridging research, education, and industry through national and international collaboration. The park will service the entire industry, ranging from small incubators to regional offices of key biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies to manufacturing plants. Upon completion, park development will cover over 30 million square feet of built-up area. Its infrastructure will comprise custom-made R&D facilities, including labs, clean rooms, incubators, office space, and residential facilities. The first DuBiotech facilities will be ready by mid-2006.

Companies operating from DuBiotech will enjoy a one-stop-shop service experience, facilitating ease of entry into the region and incorporation within this diverse and rapidly developing market, in addition to specific benefits that relate to the biotech industry. The park will comprise two main initiatives—an industry cluster and the Foundation for Research and Innovation. As part of developing a cluster, DuBiotech seeks to attract a synergistic mix of biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies active in discovery, R&D, testing, production, storage, sales, and distribution. It will also attract companies offering business support services for this industry such as legal and venture capital firms specializing in the biotech industry; educational and training institutions focused on biotech; and equipment, materials, and consumables suppliers.

The Foundation for Research and Innovation will be a specialized organization focusing on government-funded research and development in select fields including medical genetics, plant biotechnology encompassing food and agriculture, environmental biotechnology, drug discovery, pharmaceutical research, stem cell research, infectious diseases, and forensic research. Incubator facilities within the Foundation will help innovative new projects develop into productive and profitable ventures. Business development and administrative assistance offered by the Foundation will allow start-ups to concentrate on their core competencies. DuBiotech will have a regulatory framework, modeled on international best-practices.

Dr. Abdulqader Al Khayat was appointed Executive Director of the Dubai Biotechnology and Research Park (DuBiotech) in September, 2004. Prior to this, he was Director General of Dubai Police’s General Department of Forensic Administration.

In his role as Executive Director, Dr. Al Khayat heads the development of the Park as a center of biotechnology excellence for the region. Under his leadership, DuBiotech is creating a comprehensive infrastructure and environment to catalyze regional biotechnology development.

Posted by David Lemberg at 06:47 PM Return to Science and Society Podcasts Main Index

August 23, 2005

Dr. Enrique Barrera, Professor and Chair of the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science, Rice University, 8/3/05


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Dr. Enrique V. Barrera is Professor and Chair of the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science at Rice University. Dr. Barrera is a recipient of the 2002 Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Mentoring, which he received in a White House ceremony in March 2003. In 2004 he was selected as a Fellow of the American Society of Materials.

Dr. Barrera’s research focus is on the processing and development of nanocomposite/hybrids and nanotube systems. He has initiated the Outreach with Mexico Program and the Materials Technology Consortium, and he is a Cluster Leader for the Rice NSF Alliance for Graduate Education and the Professoriate program. Dr. Barrera has published 120 journal papers and has nine patents submitted in nanomaterials development.

The Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science at Rice University is a strong engineering department. Members of the faculty hold over 100 teaching awards and have a similar number of patents. The department has core faculty in Computational Fluids, Nanomaterials, Solid Mechanics, and Robotics and Megatronics. The faculty are heavily funded by NSF, DOD, NASA, and many other generous sources.

Posted by David Lemberg at 04:45 PM Return to Science and Society Podcasts Main Index

August 17, 2005

Professor John C. Zarnecki, Principal Investigator, Huygens Surface Science Package, 7/27/05


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Since 1990, Professor John C. Zarnecki has been Principal Investigator on the Huygens mission, part of the ESA/NASA mission to the Saturnian system and Saturn’s largest moon Titan. On 14 January 2005, Huygens touched down on the surface of Titan, by far the most distant landing ever achieved. Prof. Zarnecki’s Surface Science Package produced over 3.5 hours of data in Titan’s atmosphere and surface, currently under analysis.

Professor Zarnecki did his undergraduate studies in Physics at the University of Cambridge, England (1968-1971) before undertaking Ph.D. research in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at University College London. He continued to work at UCL in the field of X-ray astronomy, developing instrumentation for sounding rocket and satellite payloads as well as analyzing flight data, specializing in the emission of x-rays from supernova remnants. He then moved to British Aerospace in Bristol to take responsibility for the low light level TV system, part of the Faint Object Camera, one of the five scientific instruments on the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope. This was only recently de-commissioned after becoming the longest operating camera in space.

Professor Zarnecki then moved to the University of Kent in 1981 as the Project Manager for the highly successful Dust Impact Detection System which flew on ESA’s Giotto spacecraft to within a few hundred kilometers of the nucleus of Halley’s Comet in 1986. He spent 19 years at the University of Kent, becoming a Reader in Space Sciences. Subsequently he moved to the Open University with several colleagues from Kent to form the UK’s largest research group in Planetary Sciences.

Professor Zarnecki is involved in a variety of national and international advisory bodies in the field of Space Research, and is also active in the field of the public understanding of science.

Posted by David Lemberg at 06:45 PM Return to Science and Society Podcasts Main Index

August 13, 2005

Neil Gordon, President, Canadian NanoBusiness Alliance, 7/27/05


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Neil Gordon is President of the Canadian NanoBusiness Alliance and specializes in nanotechnology commercialization and global initiatives. He is heading the establishment of a nanofabrication center that will be offering prototyping services and low volume production for nanoscale devices that make use of low cost polymer substrates instead of silicon, such as biosensors, lab-on-a-chip, solar panels, and OLED displays. As a nanotechnology business consultant, he has worked with various government agencies, investors, start-ups, and business units in large companies throughout the world in diverse industries.

Mr. Gordon also heads the commercialization initiative of CANEUS, a NASA-led effort between multiple government agencies in the U.S. and allied countries and the private sector, to develop standards, prototypes, and collaborative investments in Micro and Nano Technologies (MNTs) for aerospace and defense applications.

The Canadian NanoBusiness Alliance (CNBA) is involved in developing major nanotechnology initiatives throughout the world. With an extensive network of nanotechnology leaders in business, science, finance, and politics, CNBA offers leadership and know-how for establishing commercial-oriented nanotechnology programs. CNBA has recently launched NIL Fab, which provides prototyping services and low volume production of leading edge devices with nanoscale dimensions on low cost polymer. Other initiatives include CANEUS, and an international clean water initiative that makes use of nanotechnology and other advanced technologies.

Posted by David Lemberg at 12:43 PM Return to Science and Society Podcasts Main Index

August 11, 2005

Michael Laine, President and Founder, LiftPort, Inc., 7/20/05



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Michael Laine is president and founder of LiftPort Inc., a privately held “C” corporation, headquartered in Bremerton, WA, focusing on the development of commerce in space. LiftPort’s mission is simple: to build a complete space transportation infrastructure with a focus on the space elevator. Toward that goal, the team at LiftPort Group is partnering with universities, research labs, and private businesses to develop the necessary technologies and capabilities. The subject of research for more than a century, the space elevator is a unique way to ferry cargo and people into space. Recent advances in technology, most notably the development of carbon nanotube composites, now appear to make building a space elevator feasible. Initial research reports on building the space elevator that draw upon these discoveries have now been completed. As proposed in these reports, the space elevator will consist of a carbon nanotube composite ribbon stretching some 62,000 miles from earth to space. The elevator will be anchored to an offshore sea platform near the equator in the Pacific Ocean, and to a small counterweight in space. Mechanical lifters (robotic elevator cars) will move up and down the ribbon, carrying such items as satellites, solar power systems, and eventually people into space. LiftPort's plan is to take the concept from the research laboratory to commercial development.

Posted by David Lemberg at 04:58 PM Return to Science and Society Podcasts Main Index

August 01, 2005

Professor Robert Geer, Assistant Vice President for Academic Affairs and Associate Professor of Nanoscience, College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering, University of Albany, State University of New York, 7/13/05


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One of the largest global centers for nanotechnology, Albany NanoTech is home to the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering (CNSE) and the New York State Center of Excellence in Nanoelectronics (NYSCEN) of the University at Albany–State University of New York. Its 450,000 square foot complex, including the only 200mm/300mm wafer facilities in the academic world, encompasses nanoelectronics, system-on-a-chip technologies, biochips, optoelectronics and photonics devices, closed-loop sensors for monitoring, detection and protection, and ultra-high-speed communication components.

A major focus for Professor Geer's research group is in the area of nanometrology—developing novel processes to quantitatively measure fundamental properties of nanoscale structures and devices. For example, ultrasonic force microscopy and heterodyne force microscopy have been used to carry out near-field nanomechanical imaging for carbon nanotubes, nanobelts, and nanowires and map nanoscale variations in mechanical modulus in a variety of nanoelectronic test structures.

A second area of interest concerns investigations of self-assembling, DNA-based molecular wires and devices for next generation integrated circuits. This research focuses on manipulating the self-assembly of beta-sheet proteins to form nanoscale conductive structures suitable for molecular electronic applications. Dip-pen nanolithography is currently being applied to these materials to controllably deposit test structures suitable for electrical and structural characterization for prototypical molecular-electronic device architectures.

Posted by David Lemberg at 04:35 PM Return to Science and Society Podcasts Main Index