NanoFlorida 2016 September 25-26 • Orlando, 9th Annual Nanoscience and Technology Symposium



Norman Roy Scott

Jay Narayan, Ph.D.

North Carolina State University

New Frontier in NV Diamond and Superconducting Qubits for Novel Quantum Devices

We have made a major research breakthrough in creation of NV nanodiamonds which are epitaxially grown with identical orientation [1] for quantum computing, sensing and communication with increased coherence, superposition and controlled entanglement. The nitrogen-vacancy (NV) center in diamond is a point defect in diamond with C3v symmetry consisting of substitutional nitrogen and vacancy pair along <111> directions. Considering <110> chains, one of the links consists of a substitutional nitrogen and a lattice vacancy. The synthesis, self-organization and deterministic placement, orientation and epitaxy, and size control have presented formidable challenges. We present a novel laser processing method that can create NV (nitrogen-vacancy) doped nanodiamond in a highly controlled manner [1]. The ultimate goal is the ability to synthesize the nanodiamonds, each containing a set number of NV centers (e.g., one) with identical orientation, at specific spatial locations on a template while minimizing the unwanted imperfections. We have also discovered B-doped Q-carbon with highest BCS (s-wave) Tc=55K and higher [2, 3] to create superconducting qubits based upon Josephson junction quantum tunneling of Cooper pairs and study their coupling with electron spins in NV diamond for quantum sensing, communication and computing at room-temperature, a significant advantage over low-temperature approaches.


1) Narayan, J. & Bhaumik, A. Novel synthesis and properties of pure and NV-doped nanodiamonds and other nanostructures. Mater. Res. Lett. 5, 242 (2017).

2) Bhaumik, A., Sachan, R., Gupta, S. & Narayan, J. Discovery of High-Temperature Superconductivity (Tc = 55 K) in B-Doped Q-Carbon. ACS Nano 11, 11915 (2017).

3) Narayan, J.; Sachan, R.; Bhaumik, A. Search for near Room-Temperature Superconductivity in B-Doped Q-Carbon. Mater. Res. Lett. 2019, 7, 164–172.

Biographical Sketch:

Jay Narayan (NAE Life Member) is John C. Fan Family Distinguished Chair in MSE, ECE and Physics at NC State. He received his B. Tech (1969) from IIT, Kanpur, and MS (1970) and PhD (1971) from UC Berkeley. He joined NC State in 1984 as Microelectronics Professor and Director of Microelectronics Center after distinguished career at ORNL and LBL. He was invited to serve as Director of Division of Materials Research of the National Science Foundation (1990-92). He has published over 500 archival journal papers, 48 US Patents and 9 edited books, which have over 35,000 citations with h-index > 90. He has graduated over 90 PhD students and trained equal number of postdocs. His other honors include NAI (Life Fellow) and NAS-I (Life Fellow), ASM Gold Medal, Acta Materialia Gold Medal, TMS RF Mehl Gold Medal, Fellow of MRS, APS, TMS, AAAS, and ASM.


Norman Roy Scott

Peter Delfyett, Ph.D.

University of Central Florida

Ultra-High Speed Information Technology – When will there be enough?

The rapid development and deployment of ultra-highspeed information-based technologies over the past 2 decades has resulted in the explosion of how information is created and shared throughout the world. Since the initial development of fiber optic communications, the speed of fiber optic networks has increased by a factor of a million or more. This talk will review how we all communicate through the fiberoptic network and discuss the key technologies that make it work. Given the tremendous capabilities and impact that these technologies have had on the world, we ask, ‘do we have enough?’ I will try to highlight some of the key challenges we face, technologically, and give a perspective of what the future may hold for us as well, and how nano-science can play a role.


Peter Delfyett received his Ph.D. degree in Electrical Engineering from CUNY. After obtaining his Ph.D. he joined Bell Communication Research as Member of the Technical Staff. In 1993, he joined UCF, where he is University Distinguished Professor. He is a Fellow of APS, AAAS, IEEE, NAI, OSA, and SPIE. He is also the recipient of the NSF PECASE Award, the APS Bouchet Award, the IEEE Photonics Society’s Streifer Award, the APS Schawlow Prize in Laser Science, and a member of the National Academy of Engineering. He has over 800 scientific publications, conference proceedings and invited presentations, and 45 US patents.

Ratnesh Lal, Ph.D.

University of California San Diego

Nanophysics: Is It Relevant for Global Health?

Nanoscale structure and activity are the building block of all multiscale biological systems and control all facets of healthy living. Two major nanophysics inventions in early 80s, namely, scanning tunneling microscopy and nanotube/buckyball allowed us, for the first time, to make nanostructures, understand their physicochemical properties, and manipulate them to create new functional structures and systems. Emergent enabling nanotechnologies allowed us to image hydrated biological structures with near atomic resolution, nanodisesct and nanotransport and nanomanipulate. They have provided new paradigms for the underlying basis of several diseases and allow precision theranostics for global health. I will discuss, primarily using the work done in my laboratory, the prospects of nanophysical principles and approaches for efficient management of global health.


Prof. Lal holds joint professorships in Mechanical Engineering, Materials Science, and Bioengineering at UCSD. He received his MS (Physics) and M Phil (Biophysics) from JNU, India, Ph.D. (Neurobiology) from UAB, and postdoctoral training at Caltech. He held faculty positions at UChicago and UCSB and then was the Director, Center of Nanomedicine and professor of Medicine, Biophysical Sciences and Cell Physiology at UChicago. He is a Fellow of AAAS and AIMBE, and an Associate Editor of Nanomedicine: Nanotechnology, Biology, Medicine. He is featured extensively in popular magazines and news media, including Time and Smithsonian. He holds several patents on Array-AFM, microfluidics, optoelectronics, nano-biosensors and in-vivo medical nanodevices for global health and emerging pathogens. He is a Founder and Chairman of Ampera Life, Inc, and Vessel ANI, Inc, a Director of Nanopsy, LLC and on the advisory board of Green Packaging LLC.

Gregory V. Lowry, Ph.D.

Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA

Developing Nanocarrier Design Rules for Precision Delivery of Agrochemicals to Plants

Nanotechnology can be leveraged to promote resilience and sustainability of agriculture in a changing climate. However, application of nanomaterials developed for this purpose often requires precision delivery into plants or specific plant organs. The design space for nanotechnology is large and requires better understanding of the nanomaterial-plant interactions that determines how they travel through plants and their ultimate fate. This talk will discuss what we know about factors influencing uptake of nanoparticles into leaves, mesophyll cells, and phloem, and how this subsequently influences their distribution to other tissues, e.g. roots, stem, younger leaves. It also presents “environmentally responsive” nanocarrier designs that enable delivery of active agents in response to a selected environmental or biological stimulation. Overall, this body of work provides some design rules for precision delivery of agrochemicals to plants, and highlights opportunities for nanotechnology in agriculture.


Dr. Lowry is the Walter J. Blenko, Sr. Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Carnegie Mellon University, and an executive and associate editor of the ACS Journal Environmental Science & Technology. His research area is environmental chemistry, with an emphasis on interactions of nanomaterials at mineral-water and biological-water surfaces. His research aims to improve the efficiency and efficacy of agriculture, environmental remediation and water treatment. Dr. Lowry is a Fellow of the AAAS and AEESP. He has published over 200 scientific articles and is a “highly cited” scientist (top 1%) in the area of ecology and environment. He has received awards for his research from the American Academy of Environmental Engineers and Scientists (Science Award), American Society of Civil Engineers (Walter L. Huber Civil Engineering Research Award), and Association of Environmental Engineering and Science Professors (Malcolm Pirnie/AEESP Frontiers in Research Award).

Arvind Agarwal, Ph.D.

Florida International University, Miami, FL

Thermally Sprayed Nanocomposites

Thermal spray constitutes a group of particle deposition-driven techniques for processing coatings, structural components, and additively manufactured parts of metals, alloys, ceramics, and their composites. Although thermal spraying has been employed commercially for depositing metals and ceramics, there is a lack of scientific understanding of spraying composites reinforced with nanomaterials. This originates from the absence of understanding of the role of processing on the structural evolution of nanomaterial reinforcements during spraying, their integration with metallic and ceramic impact structures, and their consequent effect on the mechanical behavior of the deposits. This talk will focus on manufacturing plasma-sprayed and cold-sprayed composites reinforced by nanomaterials with a wide range of morphologies, such as spherical nanoparticles, flat nanoplatelets, and linear nanotubes. Several metallic and ceramic systems such as aluminum, titanium, aluminum oxide and nano-reinforcements such as silicon carbide, nanodiamond, hexagonal boron nitride, and boron nitride nanotubes are utilized for unraveling these correlations. The specific surface area of the nanomaterial reinforcements is a key driver of the chemical reactions at the matrix-reinforcement interfaces. Several case studies with a diverse set of applications will be presented.


Dr. Arvind Agarwal is a Distinguished University Professor and Chair of the Department of Mechanical and Materials Engineering at Florida International University (FIU), Miami, FL, USA. He also serves as the Director of the School of Biomedical, Materials and Mechanical Engineering at FIU. Prof. Agarwal obtained his B.S from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Kanpur in Materials and Metallurgical Engineering and a Ph.D. in Materials Science and Engineering from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville. Prof. Agarwal’s current research interests include advanced materials processing, cold spray, plasma spray, nanocomposites, boron nitride nanotube (BNNT), nanomechanics, and mechanical properties of low dimensional and biological materials. Prof. Agarwal has published more than 375 technical articles, including 3 books, 7 edited books and 14 patents. He has delivered ~200 presentations at national and international conferences, including 35 keynote/invited lectures. He has mentored more than 50 Postdocs and doctoral students. Prof. Agarwal is an elected Fellow of AAAS, ASM International and the American Ceramic Society. He was elected as a Senior Member of the National Academy of Inventors (NAI).

Satya Prakash, Ph.D.

McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Next Generation of Stent: Nanotechnology & Gene Therapy

Cardiovascular disease is one of the major causes of death in the world. Coronary stents have saved millions of treating cardiovascular atherosclerosis. Every year an estimated 2 million stents are being deployed into patients at risk of plaque protrusion and subsequent aneurysms. Primarily, bare metal stents, drug eluting stents, bioresorbable stents, and gene or antibody eluting precision stents are the four types of stents that have been used over the years. However, bare metal stents and early generation of drug eluting stents increased in-stent thrombosis causing increased risk of death and myocardial infarction in patients. Whereas durable polymer coating of later generations of drug eluting stents causes hypersensitivity reactions. As vascular reendothelialization is a complex mechanism, older generations of drug eluting stents fail to remain site specific, consequently stimulating unwanted cellular pathways that promote in-stent restenosis. To combat these limitations, precision stents that can target specific local cellular mechanisms without inhibiting both smooth muscle cells as well as endothelial cells simultaneously, have been designed. In this advancement, nanotechnology has become an integral part of stent technology. Stents carrying nanoparticle-based formulations like liposomes, lipid-polymer hybrid NPs, polymeric micelles and dendrimers have improved in local drug delivery and anti- restenotic properties. Customized precision stents have an opportune future in tissue engineering where safe delivery of nanoparticle-mediated particles and concerted transfer of genes, drug and/or bioactive molecules like antibodies, gene mimics can be offered via nanofabricated stents. Nanotechnology can aid such therapies for drug delivery successfully due to its easy scale up possibilities. Towards this goal, we have designed a new stent using insect cell baculovirus based gene delivery and exploit power of nanotechnology. Specifically, we have engineered nano formulations for the targeted delivery of baculoviruses carrying genetic materials and drugs to be used in the gene and drug eluting precision stents. Details of these approaches will be discussed.


Dr. Prakash is Fellow of Royal Society of Canada. He is a Distinguished James McGill Professor and Full Professor of Biomedical Engineering, Artificial Cells and Organs, Physiology, Experimental Medicine, and Experimental Surgery in the Faculty of Medicine, at McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

Dr. Prakash research team has contributed to the advancement and development of several biomedical technologies. His area of research interest includes microbiome, probiotics, biomedicine, nanomedicine, nanotechnology, targeted delivery of therapeutic molecules. Specifically, his team is developing therapeutics for use in cancer, coronary heart, liver, gastrointestinal and other diseases and develop novel wound healing device and next generation of gene and drug eluting stents.

Dr. Prakash is leading author of more than 350 research papers/abstracts and other scholarly articles. His publication list includes 72 approved/pending patents and 4 edited books.

Dr. Prakash is the winner of more than 30 international awards including “Medial for Outstanding Contribution to the Advancement of Science”, Fraser, Monat and McPherson Award, Canadian Institute of Health Research (CIHR) New Investigator Award, FRSQ Chercheure‐Boursière Award, China Shandong Friendship Award and other awards including 4 endowments.

Dr. Prakash is co-founder of MangoGen Pharma, Proviva Pharma, Nanora Pharma and Micropharma, and currently serves as President, Director, and various other positions.


Jing Guo, Ph.D.

University of Florida

Atomistic and Machine-Learning-Enable Modeling of Two-Dimensional Electronic Devices

In nanoscale logic and memory devices based on new materials, atomistic scale features of materials and interfaces can play an important role in determining device characteristics and performance. Atomistic simulations of a practical logic or memory device, however, are computationally expensive, which hinders efficient device design. A multiscale approach to device simulation can address the above challenge and achieve physical accuracy and computational efficiency at the same time in device simulations. We have developed a multiscale simulation approach and machine-learning-guided design optimization methods to investigate the metal contacts to 2D materials, 2D-material-based nanoscale transistors, and ferroelectric tunneling junction (FTJ) memory devices.

As an example, scaling of transistors near the physical limits imposes significant technological and design challenges. Identifying and understanding optimum designs and trade-offs between multiple design targets, including speed, power or energy, and variability, is necessary. The multiobjective design framework developed performs gradient-free efficient global optimization based on an active learning method. Optimum designs with the trade-off between transistor speed, power, and variability are identified automatically for 2D FETs by applying the multiobjective design framework. It is shown that the targets of future technology nodes can be met by the identified designs of 2D FETs.


Jing Guo is currently a professor in Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at University of Florida, Gainesville, FL, USA. His research work mainly focuses on modeling, simulation, and design of nanoscale electronic devices. His group has extensively explored device physics, assessed performance potentials, and developed new device concepts for nanoscale transistors based on carbon nanotubes, graphene, 2D materials and topological insulators, and memory cells based on ferroelectric materials. His group has developed efficient simulation methods for quantum-transport-based device simulations, and physics-based models for nanoscale transistors. He serves as an associate editor of Nano-Micro Letters and IEEE Transactions on Electron Devices. He received his B.S. and M.S. degrees from Shanghai Jiao Tong University and Ph.D. degree in Electrical Engineering from Purdue University.

Ant Ural, Ph.D.

University of Florida

Monte Carlo simulation of electronic transport in 2D networks consisting of 1D nanowires

Two-dimensional networks of one-dimensional nanostructures, such as carbon nanotubes, metal nanowires, and graphene nanoribbons, have attracted significant research interest recently for next-generation flexible and transparent conductors, as a replacement for indium tin oxide (ITO), which suffers from brittleness, scarcity, high cost, and slow deposition. These nanowire networks can be used in many device applications, such as touch screens, flat panel displays, solar cells, light-emitting diodes, and wearable flexible electronics. They also have applications in thin film transistors and resistive switching memory.

At the high optical transmittance values required for flexible and transparent conductors, the electrical properties of nanowire networks are governed by percolation transport, which deals with the formation of long-range connectivity in random networks. As a result, Monte Carlo simulations need to be employed to theoretically calculate, predict, and optimize the electrical properties of nanowire networks.

In nanowire networks, it is generally assumed that the nanowire-nanowire junction resistance is much larger than the nanowire resistance itself. Although this is the case for nanotube networks, recent experiments have shown that, for metal nanowire networks, the junction resistance can be significantly lowered by post-deposition treatments. Here, we investigate the effect of the junction-to-nanowire resistance ratio on the conductivity and percolation critical exponents of nanowire networks. We vary the resistance ratio over six orders of magnitude, ranging from a junction- to a nanowire-dominated network. We find that the resistance ratio plays a crucial role in determining both the conductivity and the percolation critical exponents of nanowire networks.

Furthermore, in most computational work, nanowires in 2D networks have been modeled as straight sticks. However, experimentally deposited nanowires exhibit some degree of curviness. Here, we generate curved nanowires using third order Bezier curves characterized by the curviness angle. By computing percolation probability as a function of curviness angle at fixed nanowire density, we first extract the critical curviness angle at different densities using finite size scaling analysis. We find that the critical curviness angle increases with increasing density. Second, we find that nanowire alignment significantly changes the shape of the percolation probability versus curviness angle curve near the percolation threshold.

These results show that computational studies are an essential tool for providing insights into the electrical properties of nanowire networks, which are promising candidates for applications such as flexible transparent conductors, thin film transistors, and resistive switching memory.


Ant Ural is currently an associate professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Florida. He is also affiliated with the Nanoscience Institute for Medical and Engineering Technology. He received his B.S.E. degree in Electrical Engineering and Physics from Princeton University, and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Electrical Engineering from Stanford University. After his Ph.D., he completed a postdoctoral fellowship in the Department of Chemistry and the Geballe Laboratory for Advanced Materials at Stanford University. He joined the University of Florida in 2003. From 2012-2013, he was as a visiting scientist in the Nanoscale Science Department of the Max Planck Institute for Solid State Research in Stuttgart, Germany. He is the recipient of an SCEEE Junior Faculty Development Award, as well as best paper awards at the MRS Spring Meeting and ICDS-20 conferences. He is currently serving as an associate editor of the IEEE Transactions on Nanotechnology. His research interests are in nanoscale electronic and photonic materials and devices, nanomaterials growth, nanofabrication, semiconductor device physics, and electronic transport.

Sang Wook Lee, Ph.D.

Ewha Womans University, Seoul, Korea

Graphene based nanoelectromechanical resonator; physics and applications

In this presentation, graphene nanoelectromechanical (NEM) resonator based ultra-sensitive mass detection will be demonstrated. The amount of mass loaded on the graphene NEM resonator can be measured by resonant frequency shifts. The sensitivity of frequency change detection by mass loading could be improved by optimizing device structure and reducing effective mass of graphene. Our newly developed concept of utilizing the non-linear behavior of graphene resonator will be introduced for improving the resolution of frequency change detection, which is directly related to the resolution of mass change detection. A single molecule protein sequencing will be suggested for one of the promising applications of our devices will be introduced at the end of presentation.


Sang Wook Lee is Professor at Department of Physics, Ewha Womans University, Korea. He is an expert in the physics of nanoelectronics and nanoelectromechanics. He received his Ph.D. from Seoul National University, Korea in 2005 and worked as a postdoctoral researcher at Gothenburg University, Sweden until 2007.

His research interest is mainly studying electrical transport and mechanical properties of low dimensional nanostructure including carbon nanotube, graphene and other emerging 2D materials. Not only the basic physical properties, his group is trying to find out a new concept of electronic devices or sensors. Recently his research has been expanding to pursue biological application using his nano electronic or mechanical device. One of his projects is about single molecule protein sequencing by graphene nanomechanical device based ultra-sensitive mass detector, which is supported by Human Frontier Science Program (HFSP).

He was awarded the POSCO Cheong-Am Science Fellow in 2010 and selected as a leading scientist by the Korean Academy of Science and Technology in 2012. He also received the Korea Applied Physics Society Award in 2016 and the Ministry of Science and Technology Award in 2022. He has served as Editor of Current Applied Physics (2013-2020), Executive Director of the Korean Physical Society (2015-2016), and Chair of the Korea NEMS Research Society (2015-2017).

Yeonwoong (Eric) Jung, Ph.D.

University of Central Florida, Orlando, FL

Wafer-scale Heterogeneous Integration of Atomically Thin 2D Materials on Arbitrary Substrates Toward Mechanically Reconfigurable Electronics

In this talk, I will discuss recent efforts in my group on exploring viable manufacturing strategies to assemble wafer-scale 2D transition metal di-chalcogenide (TMD) layers of heterogeneously tailored components on arbitrary substrates. Specifically, we grew various 2D TMD layers of controlled layer orientation – i.e. horizontal or vertical layer alignments – on a large wafer scale via a chemical vapor deposition. We, then, precisely peeled off the wafer-scale 2D TMD layers from their original growth wafers within water preserving their intrinsic structural/chemical integrity and heterogeneously integrated them onto substrates of virtually unrestricted kinds and shapes. A range of novel applications benefiting from these atomically-thin wafer-scale materials on unconventional substrates were demonstrated, including multi-dimensionally stretchable photodetectors and electro-mechanical soft actuators. The underlying principle for the successful delamination of the 2D TMD layers will be discussed in the framework of thermodynamic interfacial energy and water-driven capillary force mechanisms.


Dr. Jung received BS from Seoul National University, MS from Univ. Illinois-Urbana Champaign, and PhD from UPenn, all in materials science & engineering. He joined UCF as a tenure-track assistant professor in 2016 after completing his post-doctoral training at Yale University. He has authored > 100 papers receiving a career citation number of > 8800, and many of these works have been published in high-impact journals including Nature sisters and Science. His research at UCF has been supported by several federal agencies including NSF, EPA, DoE-AFRL, and he is a recipient of NSF CAREER award.

Jayan Thomas, Ph.D.

University of Central Florida, Orlando, FL

Neuromorphic vision sensors using superstructures and hybrid material platforms

The retina of humans is a part of the central nervous system and consists of photoreceptors, bipolar neurons and ganglion cells. The retinal cells receive optical signals and transmit the information after preprocessing to the brain's visual cortex for further processing and memorization. Unlike the human retina, no memorization and preprocessing of the data are performed in the current artificial vision sensors, and therefore, it is a highly inefficient process. Exceedingly efficient optical synapses are required to build a retina-like optoelectronic chip to mimic human vision and processing. Carbon nanotubes (CNTs) are excellent candidates for developing circuit-level devices due to their high carrier mobility. Even though the carrier mobility of CNTs is very high, the light intensity required to achieve any photonic memory is extremely high (about 40 W/cm2). The inferior photoresponse increases the energy consumption of neuromorphic optoelectronic devices using CNTs. In this talk, I will discuss the genesis of the graphene-perovskite quantum dot (G-PQD) superstructure and CNT-PQD hybrid structures and their transition as an efficient neuromorphic optoelectronic medium. The presence of PQDs considerably increases the photosensitivity of optoelectronic synapses made using these hybrid materials. The development of G-PQD superstructure and PQD-MWCNT hybrid materials provides a new direction for the future of MWCNT-based optoelectronic devices for neuromorphic computing, which is very attractive for applications like autonomous cars, robots, prosthetic eyes and IOTs.


Dr. Jayan Thomas is a professor of nanotechnology, optics and materials at the University of Central Florida (UCF). After receiving his Ph.D. from Cochin University of Science and Technology, he joined the College of Optical Sciences, The University of Arizona, in 2001 as a research faculty. He moved to UCF in 2011. His research interests are in perovskite solar cells, optoelectronic synapses, plasmonic organic electrochemical transistors and structural energy storage devices. He has published more than 120 peer-reviewed papers and conference proceedings and holds 12 applied/accepted patents. He is a recipient of the R&D100 award, NSF CAREER award, Veeco’s best nanotechnology innovation award and a finalist of the World Technology Network award sponsored by TIME and FORTUNE magazines. Two companies have been spun off from his lab.

Achintya Bezbaruah, Ph.D.

North Dakota State University, Fargo, ND

Messing Up with Nature for Crop Production and Protection using Nanotechnology?

The use of nano-based materials and nanotechnology in agriculture has the promise of revolutionizing food crop production and crop protection. While studies indicate prolific growth due to the application of nano-based materials, molecular-level effects are not well elucidated. Work done at North Dakota State University indicates extreme up and down regulations of important genes connected to the plant’s innate immunity, and the need for sustainable design of nano-based fertilizers and other associated products. Crop varieties resistant to specific bacteria were used and ‘double-interaction’ experiments were done for the first time. The results indicated a weakened defense mechanism due to the over- and under-expression of specific genes. There are multiple different ways to alleviate the problem including smart design of nanomaterials. Proper design of nanomaterials would lead to multi-prong benefits to food crop production and in improving soil health. The lecture presents the state-of-the-art in the area of agricultural nanotechnology with a specific focus on plant nutrition and plant health. New developments in fertilizer design paradigm and ways to prevent or reduce plant uptake of toxic metals/metalloids will be discussed.


Achintya Bezbaruah is the Gehrts Presidential Professor of Environmental Engineering at North Dakota State University (NDSU), and the Director of NDSU NAE Grand Challenges Scholars Program. He is the Department Chair of Civil, Construction and Environmental Engineering at NDSU. He is also the current President of the Sustainable Nanotechnology Organization ( With more than 80 peer-viewed publications and multiple patents, his research group works on environmental nanotechnology and food-environment-water systems (FEWS). The group’s work involves applying nanomaterials for arsenic and fluoride removal from drinking water and developing the next generation of fertilizers and pesticides, including the fortification of food crops with nutrients and micronutrients. Bezbaruah has procured research grants from the United States Department of Agriculture, the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, the National Science Foundation, and the United States Geological Survey. Most of his funded projects are multidisciplinary. Originally from the Northeast Indian State of Assam, he received his BS in Civil Engineering (1987) from Assam and M. Tech from IIT-Bombay (1993). Bezbaruah completed his doctoral (Ph.D.) research at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (2002) and worked for one of the largest engineering consulting firms in the world, the URS Corp (now AECOM), in their groundwater remediation division (2003-2005) before joining NDSU as a faculty member (2005).

Eleni Markoutsa, Ph.D.

University of South Florida, Tampa, FL

Extracellular Vesicle-based Therapeutics for Alzheimer's Disease

Alzheimer's disease (AD) is a progressive neurodegenerative pathology and the most common form of dementia. Inflammation plays a key role in the development of AD. The use of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) has emerged as a promising therapeutic approach in many inflammatory diseases due to their paracrine activity combined with their ability to respond to the inflammatory environment. However, the mechanisms underlying stem cell-mediated neurological recovery are poorly understood. To elucidate these mechanisms, we first primed stem cells with the secretome of lipopolysaccharide- or beta-amyloid-activated microglia. Then, we compared the immunomodulatory effects of extracellular vesicles (EVs) secreted from primed and non-primed stem cells. Our results demonstrate that EVs from primed cells are more effective in inhibiting microglia and astrocyte activation, amyloid deposition, demyelination, memory loss, and motor and anxiety-like behavioral dysfunction compared to EVs from non-primed cells. MicroRNA (miRNA) profiling revealed the upregulation of at least 19 miRNAs on primed-stem cell EVs. The miRNA targets were identified, and KEGG pathway analysis showed that the overexpressed miRNAs target key genes associated with the ‘Toll-like receptor-4 (TLR4) signaling pathway’. Overall, our results demonstrate that priming MSCs with the secretome of activated microglia results in the release of miRNAs with enhanced immune regulatory potential.


Dr. Markoutsa was introduced to Alzheimer's research as a Ph.D. student with a scholarship under a European Union research project entitled "Nanoparticles for therapy and diagnosis of Alzheimer's Disease." She later joined the Department of Drug Discovery and Biomedical Sciences at the University of South Carolina as a postdoctoral fellow, where she worked on developing brain-targeted and microenvironment-responsive nanoparticles for drug delivery to the brain. In 2018 she joined the Department of Internal Medicine at the University of South Florida as a postdoctoral fellow to continue her research on the development of nanotherapeutics for neurodegenerative diseases under Dr. Mohapatra's mentorship. In 2020, she was awarded the Irene Diamond Fund/AFAR Postdoctoral Transition Award in Aging to develop stem cell-derived exosomes with enhanced anti-inflammatory properties to target Alzheimer's disease pathology. After completing her postdoctoral transition award in 2022, she got a position as an assistant professor at the University of South Florida. As a new investigator, her work, supported by NIH, aims to explore new therapeutic targets and biomarkers for AD and develop miRNA-based nano-strategies for treating Alzheimer's disease.

Geoffrey F. Strouse, Ph.D.

Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL

Plasmonic Metal Oxide Semiconductor Nanocrystals

Alzheimer's disease (AD) is a progressive neurodegenerative pathology and the most common form of dementia. Inflammation plays a key role in the development of AD. The use of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) has emerged as a promising therapeutic approach in many inflammatory diseases due to their paracrine activity combined with their ability to respond to the inflammatory environment. However, the mechanisms underlying stem cell-mediated neurological recovery are poorly understood. To elucidate these mechanisms, we first primed stem cells with the secretome of lipopolysaccharide- or beta-amyloid-activated microglia. Then, we compared the immunomodulatory effects of extracellular vesicles (EVs) secreted from primed and non-primed stem cells. Our results demonstrate that EVs from primed cells are more effective in inhibiting microglia and astrocyte activation, amyloid deposition, demyelination, memory loss, and motor and anxiety-like behavioral dysfunction compared to EVs from non-primed cells. MicroRNA (miRNA) profiling revealed the upregulation of at least 19 miRNAs on primed-stem cell EVs. The miRNA targets were identified, and KEGG pathway analysis showed that the overexpressed miRNAs target key genes associated with the ‘Toll-like receptor-4 (TLR4) signaling pathway’. Overall, our results demonstrate that priming MSCs with the secretome of activated microglia results in the release of miRNAs with enhanced immune regulatory potential.


Professor Strouse received his Ph.D. degree in Physical Inorganic Chemistry from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. After his Ph.D., Geoffrey Strouse was a post-doctoral associate at University of Bern (Switzerland) and Los Alamos National Laboratory. In 1997 Dr. Strouse joined the faculty at University of California at Santa Barbara where he was tenured in 2002. In 2004, Dr. Strouse joined the faculty of Florida State University. He is the Pfeiffer family Professor and Chair of Chemistry & Biochemistry at Florida State University.

Edward Price, Ph.D.

AbbVie, Inc., North Chicago, IL

An Overview of My STEM Career: Experiences at UCF and Industry

As a University of Central Florida (UCF) alumnus, I will briefly cover my experiences as a student and transition towards industry. Various experiences afforded me opportunities to do groundbreaking research in nanomaterials, biological modeling, and drug development. These experiences in both academia and industry guided a transition towards a career in AbbVie- delivering groundbreaking medicines around the world.


Dr. Edward Price is a Senior Scientist in the Quantitative, Translational and ADME sciences team at AbbVie. Here, he provides computational modeling support across various project teams in drug Discovery and Development. Edward earned his Ph.D. in chemistry from the NanoScience Technology Center at the University of Central Florida in 2019 where he focused on development of new in vitro cell-based methods and modeling approaches to predict and quantify nanoparticle and biologic disposition in pre-clinical species. While pursuing his Ph.D., Edward also worked at a small contract research organization (CRO) where he provided support and custom physiologically-based pharmacokinetic (PBPK) model development for various pharmaceutical companies, government agencies, and private organizations interested in quantifying drug disposition. Apart from work, Edward also enjoys outdoor activities like fishing, playing tennis, and spending time with family. He also manages to stay busy through cooking recipes he finds online and watching Netflix documentaries.