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Caltech’s James Heath To Present The Allergan Foundation Lecture

Published: March 1, 2012

James R. Heath of the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) will present the 2012 Allergan Foundation Distinguished Lecture on Wednesday, March 14, sponsored by the CSULB Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry.

Heath will give a general lecture on “Oncology from a Physical Scientist’s Perspective” at 11 a.m. and a research lecture on “Surface Science at the Nanoscale” at 4 p.m., both in Hall of Science room 100.

The annual lecture series is sponsored by the Allergan Foundation and is open free to the public.

Heath is the Elizabeth W. Gilloon Professor of Chemistry at Caltech; professor of molecular and medical pharmacology at UCLA; and director of the National Cancer Institute’s Nanosystems Biology Cancer Center, headquartered at Caltech.

His lab works on a variety of research projects in two general areas—solid-state quantum physics, materials science and basic surface science; and fundamental biology and translational medicine with an emphasis on oncology and advancing cancer treatments.

Heath’s honors include being named to the Forbes list of seven most powerful innovators and the Scientific American 50 Award, in addition to earning the Spiers Memorial Award from the Royal Society of Chemistry, the Raymond and Bevery Sackler Prize in Physical Sciences, the Feynman Prize in Nanotechnology and the Jules Springer Prize for Applied Physics, among others. He also is a Fellow of the American Physical Society.

He will discuss his cancer research during the general lecture.

James Heath
James R. Heath

“We have been working over the past several years to develop quantitative approaches towards following the response of cancer patients to various targeted therapies, including therapies in which the patient’s own immune system is engineered to fight the disease, “ he said. “Many of these technologies are centered around highly multiplexed, quantitative proteomics measurements at the single cell level. I will discuss how the use of these tools in the clinic is providing deep insights into how patients respond to therapies. These tools are also allowing us to begin formulating some basic questions in cancer biology with the framework of exact thermodynamic models.”

During his afternoon research talk, “I will discuss a variety of nanosystems we have developed and studied for efficiently controlling energy conversion, using physical properties that uniquely emerge at the nanoscale,” he said. “A major challenge associated with such nanotechnologies is that the intrinsically high surface-to-volume ratio of such structures means that surface chemistry can play a dominant role. I will discuss approaches we have taken towards understanding and controlling nanoscale surface chemistry. In particular, I will discuss the use of graphene templating, which allows us to capture and study weakly bound surface adsorbates, and the influence those adsorbates have on the electronic properties of the underlying nanostructures.”

For more information about the event, contact Professor Katarzyna Slowinska at 562/985-5815.

–Anne Ambrose