This paper provides a sociological account of how researchers of different disciplines become experts in translational nanomedicine. Using a case study of the Nanotechnology Characterization Laboratory (NCL) at the National Cancer Institute (NCI), the author argues that the relationship between the different disciplines involved in translational nanomedicine should be understood in the broader sociopolitical context of the boundary politics between the academy, industry, and government. This study suggests that the process of training the nanobio expert is not simply a process of inculcating skills; it is also a process of institution building. In the case of the NCL, sustaining the laboratory's existence at the interface between the university, industry, and government informed how researchers practiced interdisciplinarity and cultivated their interdisciplinary expertise. It required mobilizing institutional resources through administrative/managerial strategies. Viewing the formation of a professional identity as a social process helps clarify the meaning of interdisciplinarity and provides insight in evaluating the performance of interdisciplinary collaboration and the design of nanoscience education. WIREs Nanomed Nanobiotechnol 2012, 4:366–377. doi: 10.1002/wnan.1172
WIREs Nanomed Nanobiotechnol
Forming interdisciplinary expertise: one organization's journey on the road to translational nanomedicine
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In the Spotlight
works at the interface of biotechnology and materials science. His lab is researching many topics, such as investigating the mechanism of release from polymeric delivery systems with concomitant microstructural analysis and mathematical modeling; studying applications of these systems including the development of effective long-term delivery systems for insulin, anti-cancer drugs, growth factors, gene therapy agents and vaccines; developing controlled release systems that can be magnetically, ultrasonically, or enzymatically triggered to increase release rates; synthesizing new biodegradable polymeric delivery systems which will ultimately be absorbed by the body; creating new approaches for delivering drugs such as proteins and genes across complex barriers such as the blood-brain barrier, the intestine, the lung and the skin; stem cell research including controlling growth and differentiation; and creating new biomaterials with shape memory or surface switching properties.Learn More