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Samuel Stupp, Ph.D.

Director of the Simpson Querrey Institute for BioNanotechnology at Northwestern University, Board of Trustees Professor of Materials Science and Engineering, Chemistry, Medicine and Biomedical Engineering

Potential interviews: Stupp is available to speak to the intersection of regenerative medicine and nanotechnology, such as the potential use of specialized molecules to repair injured spinal cords and treat brain disorders. His research has resulted in paralyzed mice walking again, and he hopes to help our bodies repair themselves through nanotechnology.

Samuel Stupp’s research integrates chemistry with materials science, biology and medicine and is aimed at fostering the development and integration of nanotechnology and human health.

As one of the pioneers of regenerative medicine as an application of nanotechnology, Stupp’s work has the potential to save lives. Regenerative medicine is defined as technologies used to regrow tissues and organs in adulthood. Along with his colleagues at Northwestern University, Stupp was one of the first to use nano-structured biomaterials to instruct or signal cells to regenerate failing tissues and organs, without the need for stem cells. This work is inspiring research around the world and has led to developments in pediatric vascular regeneration, among other applications.

Stupp’s inspiration for integrating nanotechnology and regenerative medicine stems from the idea that every cell in the body is surrounded by nanostructures that play a critical role in all the functions of the cells in that particular environment. His work is groundbreaking because of his use of “soft” nanotechnology. While the first developments in nanotechnology used inorganic materials, such as steel, Stupp is among the first to use bionanomaterials composed of elements found naturally in the body, such as carbon, hydrogen, oxygen and nitrogen. In his lab at Northwestern University, he seeks to recreate the shape, the architecture and the chemistry of those bionanostructures as a tool for translational therapy.

The future of nanotechnology, according to Stupp, is in the amalgamation of astronomical numbers of nanostructures organized into a macrostructure – taking supra-molecular particles that have particular functions and organizing them together for a collective function. For example, this science could be applied to invent a robot that can sense carbon monoxide and changes chemistry to absorb the gas from the atmosphere without any wires.

Stupp believes that human health is critical to the human condition – happiness and quality of life. He hopes that his work can directly impact or indirectly inspire developments in the prevention and treatment of human health problems such as cancer, strokes and heart attacks. For Stupp, improving human happiness and quality of life through healthcare is the deepest impact that science can have on society. 

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