This award supports a planning visit to enable Professor Romel Gomez at the University of Maryland in College Park, to meet with Professor Giselle Concepcion at the Marine Science Institute of the University of the Philippines in Quezon City. The visit will help develop a collaborative plan for nanotechnology biosensor applications. The researchers? goal is to develop versatile label-free chemical sensing technologies for biological and environmental monitoring. They plan to develop fast, accurate and cost effective methods for detecting biologically and environmentally relevant compounds. The sensors they plan to develop will be based on carbon-nanotube field-effect transistors and similar nanostructures that are designed to detect nucleic acids, peptides and other inorganic compounds. These sensors will be optimized for studying marine species that are unique in the Philippines and contain byproducts that have important pharmacological implications. Sensors based on polymer and semiconducting nanowires will also be developed for monitoring heavy metals, toxins and other pollutants in the environment.
The researchers have complementary scientific expertise in the field. The Philippines is ideal for a collaboration of this type that brings together groups that are culturally and technically diverse. Due to its location and geography, this country is comprised of an archipelago of more than 7000 islands situated close to the equatorial belt. The Marine Science Institute is a lead center in the Philippines and is equipped with world-class instrumentation as well as very enthusiastic and highly skilled faculty and student populations. It is anticipated that this project will provide unique training and educational opportunities for two U.S. graduate students to obtain a global research experience. These early collaborations between the scientists and students from each country will likely lead to long-term collaborations that will benefit both institutions.