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Nano-rust: From therapeutic vectors to chicken in a basket

Join us on Teams on 31 May at 1pm
Gareth Cave

Join ARU's Medical Technology Research Centre (MTRC) online or in Chelmsford for a seminar from Dr Gareth Cave, Principal Lecturer in Chemistry at Nottingham Trent University (NTU).

Well it’s not quite rust but it nearly is… iron oxide comes in a variety of different forms but the one we have been experimenting around with for the last few years is magnetite, Fe3O4. It is naturally occurring and is in fact the most magnetic of all the naturally occurring minerals on Earth; the other nice thing is that it is FDA (Food and Drug Administration) approved.

So how can we take a material as old as the earth and do something new and exciting? In three words, “make it nano”. By controlling the size the magnetite particles we can control its magnetic behaviour and switch it on and off, i.e. make it paramagnetic or, even better, super paramagnetic.

Our first adventures with super paramagnetic iron oxide, SPIO, started with utilising them as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) contrast agents to non-invasively monitor therapeutic delivery systems in real time. But we soon realised that this was only the tip of the iceberg.

The problem with SPIO is that, like rust, it does not dissolve up in water, so the first thing we had to do is come up with a method for coating or capping the SPIO with something that would help solubilise it in water and other solvents. The answer was to grind, grind and then grind some more.

Once we nailed that (and patented it), we started to explore the properties of these new materials, including their applications in MRI, micro arrays, therapeutic vectors, magnetic hyperthermia, transdermal delivery, food and drink supplements, cosmetics, face masks, animal feed and potatoes…

Dr Gareth Cave is a Principal Lecturer in Chemistry at NTU with an active research group of seven PhD candidates and four Research Fellows, all externally funded.

Before joining NTU, he graduated from the University of Warwick and completed postdocs with Colin Raston (Monash University, Australia and University of Leeds) and Jerry Attwood (University of Missouri, USA). His research interests lay at the physical and life science interface, and focus on the applications of nanotechnology into seven key verticals: food and drink; animal health and wellbeing; food security; medical devices; antipathogenic materials; cosmetics; and electronics.

He is also the founder and director of Nanosynth Group Plc - a publicly listed nanotechnology company that commercialises nanoparticle R&D, including the world’s first MHRA approved anti-viral face masks (ProlarvaTM).

There's no need to book – simply turn up at MAR 001 on our Chelmsford campus or join the Teams meeting at the time the event starts.

For more information, email [email protected]

Join us on Teams on 31 May at 1pm