NNCO Quarterly Newsletter: Winter 2019 Edition





A Quarterly Newsletter of the National Nanotechnology Coordination Office (NNCO)



As winter comes to a close, we are in full swing with special anniversary episodes of the Stories from the NNI podcast series, celebrating the 15th anniversary of the authorization of the National Nanotechnology Initiative. Released every Monday, these podcasts feature experts from academia, government, and industry who take the time to chat with me. During our conversations, they share their perspectives on key research and development advances in nanotechnology and how the NNI has changed the nanotechnology landscape. Some of the themes that have emerged include the importance of multidisciplinarity, the sense of community within the NNI, and the vital role of the infrastructure that supports nanotechnology research and development. Several experts have also commented on the critical nature of the community in supporting the interchange between the discovery-driven research and applications-focused innovation. I am very much enjoying these conversations, and I hope that you will too. Stories from the NNI are available on your favorite podcast platform and NNI’s YouTube channel, NanoTube. Often, our guests share more insight than we can use in our short segments, so also keep an eye out for “snippets” that capture content too good for the cutting room floor.

This month we are celebrating Women’s History Month by highlighting just a few of the amazing women making history in nanotechnology. Of course, we kicked off the month highlighting Professor Millie Dresselhaus and included a “snippet” from our podcast with Marcie Black where she shared some memories of being mentored by Millie. In Marcie’s full podcast, released last week, she shares her experience as an entrepreneur starting two different nanotechnology companies. I encourage you to explore more about the women highlighted on Nano.gov, one every day in March, and to share your favorite #WomeninNano.

As we continue the year-long celebration of the NNI, we have a variety of exciting activities and events planned. In addition to our podcasts and highlights on Nano.gov, we will be hosting embedded sessions at conferences throughout the year. And also be sure to save the date for The NNI at 15: A Stakeholder Workshop on the Past, Present, and Future of the NNI, August 1–2, in Washington, DC. I look forward to engaging with you and hearing your NNI stories.


Here are a few research highlights released since the previous Quarterly Newsletter: Scientists develop first fabric to automatically cool or insulate depending on conditions (funded by the U.S. Department of Energy); Ingestible, expanding pill monitors the stomach for up to a month (funded by the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health); Converting Wi-Fi signals to electricity with new 2-D materials (funded by the Army Research Laboratory and the National Science Foundation); With nanotubes, genetic engineering in plants is easy-peasy (funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the National Institutes of Health); Breakthrough reported in fabricating nanochips (funded by the U.S. Army Research Office, the U.S. Department of Energy, and the National Science Foundation); Researchers create a bacteria-based drug delivery system that outperforms conventional methods (funded by the National Science Foundation); Using graphene to detect ALS, other neurodegenerative diseases (funded by the Office of Naval Research and the National Science Foundation); and It’s not a shock: Better bandage promotes powerful healing (funded by the National Institutes of Health)

On Dec. 13, 2018, the U.S. Department of Energy announced $100 million to establish an Energy-Water Desalination Hub to address water security issues in the United States.

On Feb. 14, 2019, a research team at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, MD, won a $2 million technology development award to advance a nanomaterial-based detector platform. If successful, the technology could benefit NASA’s efforts to send humans to the Moon and Mars. These tiny platforms could be deployed on planetary rovers to detect small quantities of water and methane, for example, or be used as monitoring or biological sensors to maintain astronaut health and safety.


MedTech Outlook Magazine recently published its list of the top 10 nanomedicine solution providers for 2018. Nine of the 10 are U.S. companies, and the 10th is a U.S.-based subsidiary of a German company. All nine of the U.S. companies have been supported by NNI participating agencies. This support includes NCI collaborations; participation in the DARPA PReemptive Expression of Protective Alleles and Response Elements (PREPARE), also known as the DARPA Vaccine Challenge; meetings with NNI leadership and agency representatives; and agency SBIR awards.  

A U.S. eyewear and apparel company has teamed up with a Belgian designer and manufacturer of innovative clothing for cycling teams and individuals to introduce, in February 2019, a graphene-based jersey that enables heat dissipation and makes the jersey electrostatic and bacteriostatic. 


In January 2019, NIOSH released its Nanotechnology Research Plan for 2018-2025. From the Forward: “NIOSH is using this Nanotechnology Research Plan for 2018–2025 as a roadmap to advance (1) understanding of nanotechnology-related toxicology and workplace exposures and (2) implementation of appropriate risk management practices during the discovery, development, and commercialization of engineered nanomaterials along their product lifecycle.”

The 2019 NNI NanoEHS Public Webinar series will kick off on April 9 at 12 pm EDT with a presentation by Dr. Robert MacCuspie (Natural Immunogenics Corp.) titled “Characterization and Quantification of Engineered Nanomaterials: Drivers of NanoEHS Research.” Upcoming webinars include: “Environmental, Health, and Safety Resources for Handling, Transporting, and Disposing of Nanomaterial-Containing Products on May 16 at 1 pm EDT and “Nanomaterials in the Environment on June 11 at 12 pm EDT. Mark your calendars and keep an eye on https://www.nano.gov/PublicWebinars for registration information.

Check out the slide presentations and summaries that are now posted on nano.gov from the 2nd Workshop on Quantifying Exposure to Engineered Nanomaterials (QEEN) in Manufactured Products, held on Oct.9–10, 2018, and the joint U.S.-EU workshop, “Bridging NanoEHS Research Efforts,” held on Oct. 11–12, 2018. 


In collaboration with TechConnect World Innovation Conference & Expo, the 4th annual National Student Leaders Conference will connect global student leaders with corporate, investment, and policy experts to support student leaders in science, technology, and business. The conference will be co-located with TechConnect World Innovation Conference & Expo, which will take place in Boston, MA, June 17–19, 2019.

The Nano and Emerging Technologies Student Network (NextTech) is a network of student-run clubs at universities and colleges across the country. NextTech recently launched a professional development webinar series aimed at undergraduate students. The first webinar in the series, “Perfecting your Elevator Pitch,” aired on December 14, 2018, and is currently available to watch on the NNI’s YouTube channel, NanoTube. Upcoming webinar topics will include “How to Design an Engaging and Effective Poster” and “Delivering Effective Professional Presentations with PowerPoint.” Do you have or want to form a new club? To join the conversation, email nanoed@nnco.nano.gov.


Join us in celebrating the NNI! Fifteen years ago, on Dec. 3, 2003, the NNI was signed into law with the 21st Century Nanotechnology Research and Development Act. To celebrate, NNCO is planning a number of activities to highlight the extraordinary advances enabled by this collaborative effort, the impacts these discoveries are having on society, and what lies ahead.

Ongoing and upcoming activities and events include:

Weekly anniversary episodes of Stories from the NNI podcast series.
Experts from academia, government, and industry share their perspectives on key research and development advances in nanotechnology. They also discuss how the NNI has changed the nanotechnology landscape. The podcasts that have been released so far include an inaugural podcast hosted by Tarek Fadel (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), who interviewed NNCO Director Lisa Friedersdorf, as well as four additional podcasts in which Lisa interviewed Pedro Alvarez (Rice University), Martin Ben-Dayan (MetaShield LLC), Marcie Black (Advanced Silicon Group), and Chuck Geraci (NIOSH). Subscribe on your favorite podcast platform. New podcasts will be released online every Monday.

The NNI at 15: A Stakeholder Workshop on the Past, Present, and Future of the NNI, August 1–2, in Washington, DC. SAVE THE DATE!

Tell us your stories or send highlights by email to: 15NNI@nnco.nano.gov!


On March 20, NNCO Director Lisa Friedersdorf will moderate a panel discussion at ANTEC 2019, the annual conference of the Society of Plastics Engineers. Lisa will make opening remarks that will provide a brief summary of the NNI and will highlight resources for the community and advances in nanotechnology. This panel, which will showcase a recent example of a commercialization success incorporating graphene in the automobile industry, will include Debbie Mielewski (Ford Motor Co.), Dr. Philip Rose (XG Sciences Inc.), and Terrance Barkan (The Graphene Council).

On April 11, NNCO Deputy Director Stacey Standridge will speak at the Spring Seminar Series on Science, Society, and Policy at the University of Oregon, Eugene, OR. She will present the NNI as a case study of science policy in the Federal Government.


March 18–21 2019: Detroit, MI
ANTEC 2019 (Annual Conference of the Society of Plastics Engineers)

March 27, 2019: Brussels, Belgium
Nanotechnology Industries Association's Annual Symposium

March 31–April 2, 2019: Milan, Italy
Industry Strategy Symposium (ISS Europe)

May 7–8, 2019: Washington, DC
Advancing Commercialization of Nanocellulose: Critical Challenges Workshop – Drying and Compatibilization

April 22–24, 2019: Boston, MA
Nano Boston Conference

April 29–May 1: Providence, RI
11th Annual Conference of the National Organization of Research Development Professionals (NORDP)

June 4, 2019: Washington, DC
NanoBusiness Commercialization Association (NanoBCA) Annual Conference

June 17–19, 2019: Boston, MA
TechConnect World Innovation Conference & Expo

August 1–2, 2019: Washington, DC
The NNI at 15: A Stakeholder Workshop on the Past, Present, and Future of the NNI

August 25–29, 2019: San Diego, CA
American Chemical Society Fall National Meeting: Chemistry and Water

www.nano.gov | info@nnco.nano.gov

Click here to subscribe to our newsletter.
Click here to unsubscribe.