B. Montgomery Pettitt, the Hugh Roy and Lillie Cranz Cullen Distinguished Professor of Chemistry at the University of Houston, has been selected as one of the plenary speakers at the Pacific Rim Nanoscience Conference Sept. 7-11 in Broome, Western Australia. Pettitt is one of only three American scientists among the 21 invited speakers.
"The biochip industry is a new and nearly billion-dollar industry and is ready to grow 10- to 100-fold very shortly," Pettitt said. "Biochips are a reality now, but they are still crude. At the University of Houston, we have uncovered important design principles for the next generation of biochips."
The research in Pettitt's lab is directed toward understanding the fundamental principles of how hard surfaces affect softer biological components like proteins and DNA. DNA chips, a type of biochip, have DNA molecules attached to a high-tech chip surface and have applications in genetic screening, disease diagnosis and drug development.
"The design of biochips depends critically on our understanding of how biological molecules interact with high-tech materials," Pettitt said. "The conference provides an opportunity for the materials science and biotech communities of the world to come together. And the proximity to Asia means that many members of that community will attend and mix with Europeans and Americans."
During the "Nanodevices" portion of the symposium, as part of session two on "Nanobio Interfaces," Pettitt's talk "Poly-electrolytes at the liquid solid interface: Biochips" will begin at 4:30 p.m., Tuesday, Sept. 7, in the Sam Male North, Cable Beach Resort.