Nanotech conference tackles big policy questions for the 'small' science

February 16, 2011

Twenty-eleven is the year that regulation of nanotechnology will move from a hypothetical possibility to a real issue for companies in virtually every industry sector that are benefitting from the new science of nanotechnology. Such regulation will raise profound policy, business and legal issues, which will be examined at a conference on March 21 sponsored by the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University.

“The Biggest Issues for the Smallest Stuff: Regulation and Risk Management of Nanotechnology” will be held from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Arizona Biltmore in Phoenix. It is co-hosted by the College of Law’s Center for Law, Science & Innovation, The Center for Nanotechnology in Society at ASU, the law firm of Polsinelli Shughart PC, the Arizona Nanotechnology Cluster, the ABA Section of Science & Technology and the Arizona Nanotechnology Cluster, and is presented by Jurimetrics: The Journal of Law, Science, and Technology, an American Bar Association publication produced at the College of Law. Download Full Image

Known as the science of the small – the ability to manipulate and utilize materials at the “nanoscale” level where they display unique and beneficial characteristics – nanotechnology is a growing science with big implications for health, safety, quality of life and environmental concerns.

The conference will feature top national and international experts from government, industry, non-governmental organizations, the insurance industry and academia, including Steve Owens, Assistant Administrator at the Environmental Protection Agency, and Robert Falkner of the London School of Economics and LSE Global Governance.

Panel sessions and panelists include:

“The Regulatory Challenges of Nanotechnology”
Nano Overview and Benefits: Vincent Caprio, Executive Director, NanoBusiness Alliance
Scientific Challenges: Kiril Hristovski, Assistant Professor, College of Technology and Innovation, ASU
Regulatory Challenges: Gary">">Gary Marchant, Executive Director, Center for Law, Science & Innovation, and Lincoln Professor of Emerging Technologies, Law and Ethics, ASU
Public Challenges: Elizabeth Corley, Associate Professor, School of Public Affairs, ASU

“Regulatory Agency Perspectives”
Jeff Morris, National Program Director for Nanotechnology, EPA
Charles Geraci, Coordinator, Nanotechnology Research Center, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Ritu Nalubola, Policy Analyst, U.S. Food and Drug Administration
Jeffrey Wong, Chief Scientist, California Department of Toxic Substances Control, California Environmental Protection Agency

“Non-Regulatory Risk Management Approaches”
• Overview of Non-Regulatory Approaches: Daniel Fiorino, Executive in Residence, Department of Public Adminstration and Policy, American University
• EDF-Dupont NanoRisk Framework: Terry Medley, Global Director of Corporate Regulatory Affairs, DuPont
• Responsible NanoCode: Steffi Friedrichs, Director, Nanotechnology Industries Association
• European Code of Conduct: Rene VonSchomberg, European Union

“Stakeholder Perspectives”
• NGO Perspective: Jennifer Sass, Senior Scientist, Health and Environment Program, Natural Resources Defense Council
• Legal Practitioner Perspective: John C. Monica Jr., Porter Wright.

“Is Liability in the Future of Nanotechnology?”
• Timothy F. Malloy, Professor and Faculty Director, Sustainable Technology and Policy Program, UCLA School of Law
• Edward R. Glady, Jr., Polsinelli Shughart, PC

Nanotechnology, the science of the very small, is a rapidly emerging set of technologies being applied in virtually every industry sector, including health care, energy, food, cosmetics, materials, computer and communication technologies, automotive, environmental services and many others. At the same time that nanotechnology is providing many new exciting applications and benefits, it also has the potential to create significant new risks for workers, consumers and the environment.

After several years of studying the problem, federal agencies such as EPA, FDA and NIOSH are now moving forward with more active regulation of nanotechnology while, at the same time, a variety of other non-regulatory risk management and safety initiatives are being proposed or implemented.

“The regulation and risk management of nanotechnology is likely to affect a large number of companies across the economy, given the increasing prevalence of nanotechnology,” said Gary Marchant, Executive Director of the Center for Law, Science & Innovation, and Lincoln Professor of Emerging Technologies, Law and Ethics at ASU. “This conference presents a unique opportunity to hear from the top experts from around the world on how nanotechnology should be regulated and managed.”

Registration is $75 (general), and $25 (ASU students and faculty), and CLE will be offered for $150 to private attorneys and $100 to public attorneys. For more information and to register, visit

Janie Magruder, janie.magruder">">
Office of Communications, College of Law

Student wows her mentors at Mayo with research achievement

February 16, 2011

There were backslaps and a few high-fives at Mayo Clinic in Arizona last week, when a 20-year-old ASU premedical junior being mentored at the clinic was chosen to present a research paper at the American Academy of Neurology annual meeting.

Madeline Grade, a biomedical engineering major who is in the Barrett-Mayo premed scholars program, may be the first undergraduate ever selected for the national honor. The program is a partnership with Barrett, the Honors College at ASU. Madeline Grade Download Full Image

Stage fright on her part would be understandable. Grade will take the platform in front of a hundred or so professional neurologists to present a project on epilepsy which she completed last summer. To the pride of her mentors, she had three abstracts accepted at the AAN, two as platform presentations.

“It’s truly a stunning accomplishment,” said Dr. Ken Mishark, director of the premed scholars program at Mayo. “We’re so proud of Madeline. She has pulled off something that no one we know of has ever done, and the credit goes to her and to her mentors at the Epilepsy Monitoring Unit.”

He believes it may be the first time that an undergraduate student has been asked to present at AAN. Very few neurologists have been selected for a platform presentation, he said.

“This is a tremendous honor, as only a very small number of abstracts are selected for platform talks as opposed to poster presentations,” said Dr. Katherine Noe, Mayo neurologist who mentors Grade. “She’s an exceptional individual, extremely bright and a real self-starter.”

Grade also is the second author on a paper just accepted for publication in Epilepsy and Behavior. Even more unusual is that she completed her work in a summer internship.

The tall, slender student is a familiar face at Barrett, where she gives campus tours, and at the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering, where she is president of the student biomedical engineering society. Her energy level and enthusiasm spill over in all directions: photography, music, running, clubs.

Currently she’s recruiting other ASU students for a synthetic biology team, to compete in the International Genetically Engineered Machine competition at MIT in November. She’s also training for a 200-mile relay from Wickenburg to Tempe this month and studying for the MCAT.

The AAN presentation will take her to Honolulu in April, where she’ll present her work on the counseling of women of childbearing age who receive valproic acid, a seizure-treatment medication which can also cause birth defects.

Grade says she loves clinical research, and would like to be both a physician and a researcher. She found her summer internship at Mayo fascinating.

“Research is what drives everything, every change in patient care,” she said. “I went to the hospital every day all summer, and I was so excited about it, it didn’t feel like a job at all. When I went on vacation, I missed it. The total immersion in a hospital environment was really invaluable for me.”

After graduating from Gilbert High School in 2008, Grade had planned to go to Duke or Northwestern, but she was reluctant to incur heavy student debt. When she investigated Barrett and found out about the opportunities for undergraduate research at ASU, she was sold.

“Barrett was a huge part of my decision to come here, and so was the biomedical engineering program. It’s such an exciting time to be at ASU, with all the research that’s going on, all the events and people and experiences.

“All you have to do is e-mail your professors, and they’ll help you get involved in whatever you want to do. Dr. Bill Ditto (director of the School of Biological and Health Systems Engineering) is my hero. He has a ‘let’s do this’ attitude, and he gets you pumped up about trying new things.”

According to Ditto, Grade has emerged as a real student leader in the school, getting other students excited about biomedical engineering.

“Madeline’s enthusiasm, creativity and tremendous work ethic continue to amaze me,” he said. “I expect great things from her as her career progresses.”