$15 Million UALR Nanotechnology Center Opens

by Roby Brock ([email protected]) 188 views 

The University of Arkansas at Little Rock opened its Center for Integrative Nanotechnology Sciences (CINS) on Wednesday (May 2).

“We no longer have to take a backseat to any state in the nation” said Gov. Mike Beebe in reference to research advancing to the marketplace. “We are one of the few states in the nation where it is really happening.”

Beebe was joined by U.S. Sen. Mark Pryor, U.S. Rep. Tim Griffin as well as Chancellor Joel E. Anderson and University of Arkansas System President Donald Bobbitt at the dedication of the facility.

The $15 million, five-story building will house research facilities for scientists and students to explore the interface between nanomaterials, plant biology, and mammalian biology. The 50,000 square foot center will also provide laboratories and a greenhouse on the roof, along with office space for Center Director Dr. Alexandru S. Biris, his nine-member research team, and other staff.

“This building represents both technology much smaller than the naked eye can see and a huge opportunity for Arkansas’ economy that we all can see,” Beebe said. “They are arranging molecules and atoms to create new material that never existed before. They are doing something that the stars did.”

CINS outreach programs will include a Nano Academy for high school students and an undergraduate research internship program.

Nanotechnology is a research field that manipulates matter in a microscopic way allowing for applications. The scale of nanotechnology is so small – a billionth of a meter – or the equivalent of one ten-thousandth the size of a human hair.

Nanomaterials and their applications have been identified as one of nine focus areas with commercial potential for Arkansas. By 2020, nanotechnology is projected to create two million jobs in the U.S.

Two spin-off companies in Arkansas, Orlumet, LLC and Poly Adaptive, LLC, have been established to commercialize some of the technologies being researched at UALR.

In January, UAMS announced it would establish a nanomedicine center to advance medical research and applications at the molecular level for curing diseases and repairing damaged tissues. The University of Arkansas has invested in nanoscience research for more than a decade.