Award Lauds Nanoparticle Toxicity Research
Doctoral Chemistry Student Studies Ways to Minimize Environmental Risks in Semiconductor Manufacturing Process
Feb. 11, 2010
Doctoral chemistry student Chi-cheng Chiu will receive the Simon Karecki Award next week when he travels to Arizona to discuss the first-year results of his nanoparticle toxicity study.
The meeting is part of a Semiconductor Research Corporation (SRC)/SEMATECH Engineering Research Center review, where participants will present their research progress.
This award is given by the Education Alliance, a private foundation of the SRC, in conjunction with the SRC/SEMATECH Engineering Research Center for Environmentally Benign Semiconductor Manufacturing.
Chiu will be recognized for his work on safe semiconductor manufacturing, technical communication ability and research cooperation.
UT Dallas is only the sixth school to have a researcher win the award. Previous awardees include the University of Arizona, Cornell University, Stanford University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of California at Berkeley.
“I didn’t think I would get it,” Chiu said. “After the nomination was in, I looked at the past winners. They are very good students. When my research adviser, Dr. Nielsen, came to my office in January and told me I had won, I thought, ‘Wow.’ ”
Dr. Steven Nielsen, an assistant professor of chemistry who nominated Chiu for the award, said he was not surprised Chiu had won.
“Chi-cheng is excellent,” Nielsen said. “He is more than qualified.”
Chiu studies the computer modeling portion of a multi-tiered research project investigating the potential toxicity of nanoparticles. The research group includes:
- Dr. Gregg R. Dieckmann, associate professor of chemistry.
- Dr. Rockford K. Draper, professor of biology.
- Dr. Inga H. Musselman, professor of chemistry.
- Dr. Paul Pantano, associate professor of chemistry.
The team is working to develop correlations, or relationships, that predict whether certain properties of nanoparticles pose a toxicity risk. The research may point toward ways to reduce problems in semiconductor manufacturing.
“There is a lot of controversy about nanotube interactions with the cell,” Chiu said. “When you purchase nanotubes from a commercial vendor, they are contaminated with other chemicals that can impact both your results and your interpretation of the results. On the modeling side, we can study pristine nanotubes, but we are limited to modeling only a small portion of the cell.”
The research is part of a project titled “Predicting, Testing, and Neutralizing Nanoparticle Toxicity.” Awardees received $120,000 for year 1 from SRC/SEMATECH, with an additional $45,000 of matching funds from the dean of the School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics and $20,000 of matching funds from the vice president for research and the provost.