Jamey Marth Named Director of New Nanomedicine Research Center
By Eileen Conrad
UCSB and the Burnham Institute for Medical Research in La Jolla have named leading biomedical researcher Jamey D. Marth director of a new joint Center for Nanomedicine that will be established at UCSB.
The collaborative biomedical research partnership merges UCSB’s core expertise in engineering, materials sciences, nanotechnology, and physics with Burnham’s strengths in the biological sciences and biomedical research. The new center will promote the convergence of these fields and pioneer the development of novel technologies for advancing human health. Together, UCSB and Burnham plan to recruit additional scientists to the Center for Nanomedicine to create collaborative research teams that will produce innovative technologies for an entirely new generation of biosensors, medical devices, drug delivery nanoparticles, instruments for advanced biomedical research, and other products.
An offshoot of nanotechnology, nanomedicine refers to highly specific medical intervention at the molecular scale for curing disease or repairing damaged tissues, such as bone, muscle, or nerve.
“Interdisciplinary nanotechnologies are vital to establishing a holistic and rigorous approach to biomedical research that encompasses disparate knowledge and integrates all of the cellular molecules and factors that contribute to disease,” said Marth, who is a faculty member in UCSB’s Department of Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology, as well as at Burnham.
At UCSB, Marth has been appointed to two prestigious endowed professorships. He is the first recipient of both the John Carbon Chair in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and the Duncan and Suzanne Mellichamp Chair in Systems Biology in the campus’s Biomolecular Science and Engineering Program. Prior to joining Burnham and UCSB, Marth was professor of cellular and molecular medicine and Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator at the UC San Diego School of Medicine.
Marth’s laboratory is world-renowned in the application of cellular biology to uncovering the origins of disease. Marth is engaged in collaborative projects with UCSB and Burnham Institute scientists to develop nanotechnology platforms for biomedical research, including the means to rapidly detect and manipulate the cellular components that are responsible for health and disease. His highly interdisciplinary research has led to the discovery of disease mechanisms that span multiple fields, including autoimmune disease, infectious disease, and dietary-induced Type 2 diabetes.
Pierre Wiltzius, Worster Dean of Science and professor of physics at UCSB, noted that Marth will play a central role in shaping the future of biomedical research on campus. “The coupling of biomolecules to nanomaterials and their assembly into nanostructures will produce a wide range of ‘smart’ devices with an enormous breadth of practical applications, including diagnostics and biosensors, drug screening and delivery, tissue engineering, and much more,” Wiltzius said. “The impact of this new field of science, termed ‘nanomedicine,’ on medicine and life sciences will be hugely transformative, comparable in magnitude to the transition from transistors to silicon chips in the computer sciences.”