UCF Nanoscientist Receives CAREER Award

March 24, 2011

UCF Researcher wins career award

A UCF researcher who is developing a new method for detecting cancer by using nanoparticles as thermal barcodes has received the National Science Foundation's most prestigious award for young investigators the CAREER award.

Ming Su, assistant professor in UCF's NanoScience Technology Center, received the $400,000 five- year grant for research that he anticipates will result in a blood test that will screen for multiple types of cancer at once to enhance diagnostic reliability.

Most cancer screening tools, such as the PSA test for prostate cancer, measure the level of one particular protein in the blood. Su's process, which has also been funded by the Department of Defense, would test multiple biomarkers at once and use phase change nanoparticles or particles that change from solid to liquid when heated, to develop a more sensitive detection of multiple cancer indicators from a limited amount of samples from patients.

By heating nanoparticles of different metals and alloys during a linear thermal scan process, Su and his team can use them to discern the melting temperature of the particles which helps determine the presence of a panel of biomarkers.

Su was featured earlier this year on the Department of Defense's Lung Cancer Research Program website and he has received awards including Eugene P Wigner Fellowship from Oak Ridge National Laboratory before joining UCF, the New Investigator Award from the James and Esther King Biomedical Program of the Florida Department of Health, Doctoral New Investigator Award from the Petroleum Research Foundation of the American Chemical Society, as well as Distinguished Researcher for College Level Excellence in Research Award at UCF.

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