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Invited Scientific Speakers


  • Khan Ishrat M. Khan, Ph.D. Professor of Chemistry and Director, NSF CREST Center for Functional Nanoscale Materials Clark Atlanta University, Atlanta, GA.

    Ishrat M Khan is a Professor of Chemistry and Director, of the NSF CREST Center for Functional Nanoscale Materials. He received his BA degree in Chemistry from Susquehanna University, Selinsgrove, PA and a PhD degree in Organic Polymer Chemistry from the University of Florida.  His research activities include synthesis, characterization and property evaluation of novel polymer materials with possible application in sensors, drug delivery, advanced nanocomposites and nanoscale polymeric drugs.

  • Hersam Mark C. Hersam, Ph.D. Professor of Materials Science and Engineering, Chemistry, and Medicine Northwestern University, Evanston, IL.

    Mark C. Hersam is the Bette and Neison Harris Chair in Teaching Excellence, Professor of Materials Science and Engineering, Chemistry, and Medicine, and Director of the Materials Research Center at Northwestern University. He earned a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) in 1996, M.Phil. in Physics from the University of Cambridge in 1997, and a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from UIUC in 2000.  His research interests include nanofabrication, scanning probe microscopy, semiconductor surfaces, and carbon nanomaterials.

  • Davis Virginia A. Davis,Ph.D. Mary and John H. Sanders Associate Professor Department of Chemical Engineering Auburn University, Auburn, AL.

    Dr. Davis earned her Ph.D. from Rice University in 2006 under the guidance of Professor Matteo Pasquali and the late Nobel Laureate Richard E. Smalley.  Prior to attending Rice, Dr. Davis worked for eleven years in Shell Chemicals’ polymer businesses in the US and Europe. Dr. Davis’ research is primarily focused on using fluid phase processing to assemble cylindrical nanomaterials into larger functional materials. Targeted applications include high strength and light-weight composites, sensors, antimicrobial surfaces, electrodes, and thermal interface materials.

  • Green Hadiyah-Nicole Green, Ph.D. Physicist, Multidisciplary Scientist, Nano-Biotechnology and Targeted Cancer Therapy Specialist Tuskegee University, Tuskegee, AL.

    Dr. Hadiyah-Nicole Green is a physicist with over ten years of research experience in the application of nanotechnology, biotechnology and photonics to oncology, tumor targeting and regression.  She earned her BS from Alabama A&M University and her MS and PhD from The University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB).  Her research includes developing techniques related to nanoparticle fabrication, antibody-nanoparticle conjugation, targeted treatment delivery and tumor regression.  Additional interests also include polymers, small molecules, drug discovery and delivery systems.

  • Singh Seema Singh, Ph.D. Assistant Professor Mitchell Cancer Institute, University of South Alabama, Mobile, Alabama.

    Seema Singh is an Assistant Professor of Oncologic Sciences at University of South Alabama Mitchell Cancer Institute (USAMCI). She received her PhD from Aligarh Muslim University, India in 2001, and subsequent post-doctoral training from Eppley Cancer Institute/University of Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha, Nebraska. Over the past several years, she has been working on cutaneous malignancies to identify molecular causes associated with their etiology, progression and metastasis.

  • Vishwanatha Jamboor K. Vishwanatha, Ph.D. Dean, Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, Professor of Molecular Biology and Immunology Director, Texas Center for Health Disparities, University of North Texas Health Science Center Fort Worth, Texas USA.

    Dr. Vishwanatha received his Ph.D. in biological sciences from the University of South Carolina in 1983.  Dr. Vishwanatha’s research is in cancer molecular biology and experimental therapeutics.  His laboratory is investigating genetic markers that predict development of triple negative breast cancer, a deadly form of breast cancer for which there are very few therapeutic options.  He is also developing nanotechnology-based therapies for breast cancer, and directing health disparity research, education and community outreach programs

  • Rangari Vijaya Rangari, Ph.D. Associate Professor, Material Science and Engineering, Tuskegee University, Tuskegee, AL.

    Dr. Rangari received his Ph.D in Polymer Chemistry from Osmania University, India and a post doc at Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, India and Bar-Ilan University, Israel. Dr.Rangari’s main research interests are: a) Synthesis of various types of nanoparticles with different shapes and sizes using CVD, sonochemical autogenic pressure reactor and microwave techniques; and b) Development of thermoset and thermoplastic polymeric nanocomposites for structural applications. c) Alignment of acicular nanoparticles in polymeric fibers through single screw melts extrusion for multifunctional textile applications. d) Applications of magnetic and bio-based nanoparticles for biomedical applications.

  • Lei Yu Lei, Ph.D. Assistant Professor Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering University of Alabama, Huntsville, AL.

    Yu Lei received his B.S. from Nanjing University in China in 2004, and his Ph.D. from University of Illinois at Chicago in 2010, both in Chemical Engineering. His doctoral thesis work was partly carried out at Fritz Haber Institute of Max Planck Society in Germany. As a postdoctoral researcher at Argonne National Laboratory, Yu developed ALD nanostructured materials for green energy conversion and storage. Currently, Yu Lei’s research group is working on atomic layer deposition (ALD) technology with the goal of developing new applications for ALD in fields such as catalysis, batteries.

  • Chaudhary Jaideep Chaudhary, Ph.D. Professor Center for Cancer Research and Therapeutics Development, Clark Atlanta University, Atlanta, GA.

    Dr. Chaudhary earned his Master’s in Biophysics from Punjab University, Chandigarh and PhD from National Institute of Health and Family Welfare, New Delhi, India specializing in reproductive endocrinology. His research focus is to understand molecular basis of prostate cancer development/ progression and genetic basis of prostate cancer health disparities. He also serves as principal scientific advisor for Angiogenex Inc., an early stage anti-cancer therapeutics and diagnostics company.

  • Pillai Shreekumar Ramachandran Pillai, Ph.D. Professor – Biology Co-PI, CREST Center for Nanbiotechnology Research Alabama State University, Montgomery, AL.

    Dr. Pillai received his DVM and MVSc degrees from Bombay (Mumbai) Veterinary College, and the Ph.D in Veterinary Medicine from Auburn University. Dr. Pillai has over twenty-five years of research and teaching experience, and he has also worked in major multinational pharmaceutical companies. Dr. Pillai’s group focuses on developing novel nanomaterials for antimicrobial applications. Dr. Pillai’s group also collaborates with the University of Pennsylvania to develop FET and electrochemical biosensors for the detection of foodborne pathogens.

  • Nikles Jacqueline A. Nikles, Ph.D. Associate Professor Chemistry/Coordinator Undergraduate Organic Chemistry
    Department of Chemistry, University of Alabama at Birmingham, AL Jacqueline A. Nikles received her PhD in Physical Organic Chemistry in 1985 from Case Western Reserve University, followed by a post-doctoral fellowship at Rutgers University. She is also an adjunct professor in the Department of Chemistry at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa. Her research interests include targeted drug delivery systems and curriculum development in undergraduate organic chemistry.

  • Anup Anup Sharma, Ph.D. Alabama A&M University, Huntsville, AL Anup Sharma received his PhD in Physics from Columbia University in 1982. He discovered continuous-wave mirrorless lasing in alkali vapor. His research activities include UV lithography of soft biological materials and polymers, stand-off Raman sensing of explosives from a distance greater than 200 meters and surface enhanced Raman spectroscopy.  His recent activity involves visible light-activated immobilization of biomolecules on polymer substrates for possible application to biosensing.

  • Bao Yuping Bao, Ph.D. Associate Professor Chemical and Biological Engineering, The University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, AL Dr. Yuping Bao received her B.S. in Chemistry from East China University of Science and Technology, and her master in Physics Department at Tongji University, Shanghai, China. In 2006, Bao received her Ph.D. in Materials Science and Engineering and a Ph.D. Dual Degree in Nanotechnology focusing on Bioengineering from University of Washington. After two years postdoctoral study in the Center for Integrated Nanotechnology at Los Alamos National Laboratory, she joined the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering at the University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa in 2008. In 2009, she was named as a Reichhold-Shumaker fellow and became an adjunct Faculty in Biological Science. She is a recipient of 2010 Ralph Powe Junior Faculty Enhancement Award, and received a National Science foundation (NSF) Career Award in 2012.

  • Wower Jacek Wower, Ph.D. Professor of Biochemistry Department of Animal Sciences Auburn University, Auburn, AL Dr. Jacek Wower received his PhD in 1978 from the Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznan, Poland and then worked as a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Max-Planck Institute for Molecular Genetics. Before coming to Auburn, Dr. Wower served as a faculty member at the Adam Mickiewicz University (Poznan, Poland) and the University of Massachusetts (Amherst, MA).  His research activities are focused on studying protein synthesis apparatus in bacteria and the characterization of RNA structures. A substantial part of his recent work is related to developing nanosystems for programmed drug delivery and RNA-based nanodevices for detection of pathogens.

  • Nitin Nitin Chopra, Ph.D. Associate Professor, Metallurgical and Materials Engineering, Center for Materials for Information Technology (MINT), Department of Biological Sciences, The University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, AL Dr. Chopra earned his undergraduate engineering degree (Materials and Metallurgical Engineering) from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur (India) in 2001, and a doctoral degree in Materials Science and Engineering from the University of Kentucky (2005). After completing his PhD, Nitin worked as a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Kentucky (Department of Chemistry, 2005-2009). Nitin is currently an Associate Professor in the Department of Metallurgical and Materials Engineering at the University of Alabama. His research interests include development of nanoscale heterostructures, studying their growth mechanisms, materials characterization, and applications in biomaterials, sensors, complex architectures, and devices utilizing materials chemistry at nanoscale. Nitin is the recipient of The Minerals, Metals, and Materials Society (TMS) Young Leader Professional Development Award in 2010, 2011 TMS Young Leader International Scholar Award, and was inducted into the 2010 class of Emerging Professionals in ASM International. He is an honorary fellow of the Australian Institute of High Energetic Materials. He is also the founding Editor-in-chief of “Nanomaterials and Energy” journal (ICE Publishing, UK). He serves on various technical and programming committees in TMS, ASM International, and serves ACS as the 2013 Past Chair of the local Alabama section. He has published more than 67 peer-reviewed research articles, including publications in Nature and Science, over 80 conference presentations, and 90 invited talks nationally and internationally. He is also a recipient of the University of Alabama’s 2013 Faculty Fellow Award.

  • Derrick Dean, Derrick R., Ph.D. Associate Professor, Material Science & Engineering University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL Dr. Dean completed his BS and MS in Chemistry from Tuskegee University followed by Ph.D. in Materials Science and Engineering from University of Illinois. His research program focuses on the processing structure property relationships of polymers and multiphase polymer systems including nanocomposites, blends and fiber-reinforced composites.

  • Joel S. Silfies National Manager for Training and Applications Nikon Instruments, Inc. A graduate of Cornell University and the University of Florida Joel Silfies holds degrees in both Biology and Management.   He is a 10 year veteran of Nikon and has served on the applications support team for the past 7 years recently assuming the role of management for that team.  Joel is extensively involved with product development at Nikon and strives to help develop microscopy systems which will provide new tools to push the limits of biological research.  He has served as an industrial instructor at courses held at both the Marine Biological Lab at Woods Hole, MA and the Mount Desert Island Biological Laboratory – Bar Harbor, ME.