Nanoparticles Delivering Drugs Through the Skin

Did you know that the skin is the body’s largest organ? It covers about 1.8 square meters!1 It serves as the body’s outermost protective layer by limiting the movement of molecules into and out of the body, holding all of the body’s organs close together, and being the first defensive barrier against foreign threats. But its effectiveness as a barrier presents some challenges when we want to get medicines to go through the skin into the body. Some new technologies are using nanoparticles to help get around those challenges.


Skin does a great job as a barrier between the inside and the outside of our body (image from Pixabay)

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Ep 4. Nano Superheros: At the Interface of Art and Science

Welcome to episode 4 of the Sustainable Nano podcast! In this final new episode of our launch week, we interview the three high school student finalists from NSF’s Generation Nano contest about their amazing nanotechnology-based superheroes.



image credit: Vegas Bleeds Neon

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Ep 3. Nanoparticles in Electric Car Batteries: How Do We Study Sustainability?

Welcome to episode 3 of the Sustainable Nano podcast! In this episode, we talk about a recent research study that looked at how one type of battery nanomaterial affects bacteria called Shewanella oneidensis. We interview Mimi Hang and Ian Gunsolus, who were co-first authors of the study as graduate students in the Center for Sustainable Nanotechnology.

Nissan Leaf

The Nissan Leaf is one example of an electric car that uses NMC in its batteries (image by Tennen-Gas)

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Ep 2. Viruses: Biology’s Nanoparticles

Welcome to episode 2 of the Sustainable Nano podcast! In this episode, we talk with scientist M.G. Finn about how viruses are like (and unlike) nanoparticles, and some of the ways researchers want to use viruses to fight disease.


A virus-like nanoparticle.  (image adapted with permission from Pokorski et al. (2011), copyright American Chemical Society)

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Why do we care about sustainable nanotechnology?

What does “Sustainable Nano” even mean?

On this pilot episode of our brand new podcast, we talk with the Director of the Center for Sustainable Nanotechnology, along with students, faculty, and a few complete strangers about some questions related to our Center’s research: What is nanotechnology? What is sustainability? And what does it mean when we put the two terms together?

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It’s the Sustainable Nano Podcast Preview!

That’s right, Sustainable Nano is about to become a podcast!

Sustainable Nano Podcast

Podcast cover art!

This new audio version of Sustainable Nano is launching next week. You can get a brief sample of what we have in store with this 3-minute preview episode:


Don’t worry, the Sustainable Nano blog that you know and love isn’t going anywhere! Although next week the blog will be dominated by podcast episodes, starting the week of September 19th we’ll resume our regular weekly(ish) schedule of written posts about nanotechnology, sustainability, and life in science.

Magnetic Nanoparticles in Cancer Treatment

Although nanomedicine may sound like something out of a science fiction film, it is already being put to use in treating a range of human illnesses. Magnetic nanoparticles are currently in development as a promising new type of cancer treatment that uses nanoparticles to selectively heat tumors to temperatures high enough to kill cancer cells without harming healthy cells.1 This destroys tumors as well as activates the immune system to attack other cancer cells throughout the body.


Figure 1: A ferrofluid forming peaks when brought close to a magnet. (image by Steve Jurvetson)

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