Japanese delegation, UNMC to sign partnership agreement today

by Chuck Brown, UNMC public affairs | March 25, 2008

picture disc.
Alexander "Sasha" Kabanov, Ph.D.
The development of a "materials medicine network," which pursues research in nanomedicine and other fields is the focus of a visit to UNMC today by representatives from four Japanese institutions.

The delegation includes representatives from the University of Tsukuba, Tokyo Science University, Osaka University and RIKEN -- a natural sciences research institution in Japan.

The meeting will include a mini-symposium with UNMC researchers and the signing of a formal agreement that will allow for student and faculty exchanges and increased research cooperation, said Alexander "Sasha" Kabanov, Ph.D., Parke-Davis Professor of Pharmaceutical Sciences in the UNMC College of Pharmacy and director of the UNMC Center for Drug Delivery and Nanomedicine.

"As our campus grows, it is vital that we aggressively pursue cross-national research collaboration," Dr. Kabanov said. "I foresee this agreement as a major step in UNMC becoming a vibrant international center for work combining material and biological science."

Materials medicine is a term Dr. Kabanov coined to describe the interface between materials science - such as chemistry and physics - with biological sciences and medicine.

This interface, Dr. Kabanov said, has the power to revolutionize medicine by creating new drugs and drug delivery systems, providing new transplant solutions and developing new treatments for diseases such as cancer.

"Finding ways to use the materials around us to help improve our health is an exciting endeavor and one of the great promises of the future," he said. "By partnering with these Japanese institutions, we are teaming with some of the best material scientists in the world. This places UNMC in a special position to become a leader in this emerging area of science."

"By partnering with these Japanese institutions, we are teaming with some of the best material scientists in the world."

Alexander "Sasha" Kabanov, Ph.D.

Yukio Nagasaki, Ph.D., of the University of Tsukuba, is among those in the Japanese delegation. The agreement stands to greatly benefit all the involved institutions, he said.

"In order to strengthen our relationship and collaboration with UNMC, we want to make the agreement," Dr. Nagasaki said.

Michael Boska, Ph.D., professor and vice chairman of research in the UNMC Radiology Department, will meet with the Japanese visitors when they tour his laboratory this morning.

The research capabilities of the partnership, particularly in the area of nanomedicine, are exciting, he said.

"The partnership with the Japanese nanomedicine group will have the effect of accelerating research progress by expanding the expertise and manpower involved in these developments," Dr. Boska said.