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Posted 01.23.06

Prominent Nano and Molecular Medicine Scientist to Join MU Faculty

UCLA Professor Moves to Mizzou, Curing Cancer His Ultimate Goal

COLUMBIA, Mo. -- University of Missouri-Columbia Chancellor Brady Deaton announced today that world-renowned scientist M. Frederick Hawthorne will join the Mizzou faculty as co-director of the new International Institute for Nano and Molecular Medicine. Hawthorne, who comes from the University of California at Los Angeles, will serve with Kattesh Katti, professor of radiology and biomedical physics and senior research scientist at the MU Research Reactor, to provide leadership for the new institute. Hawthorne has been a member of the National Academy of Sciences since 1973.

M. Frederick Hawthorne."This move will significantly advance MU's national leadership in nanomedicine and cancer research while providing break-through technology and medical solutions to the world," said Deaton, whose extensive conversations with Hawthorne and Katti convinced him that Mizzou needed Hawthorne and Hawthorne would thrive in Mizzou's synergistic, interdisciplinary research culture.

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"It is the opportunity of a lifetime to attract someone who has contributed so immensely to this field and is considered a world authority with more than four decades of experience," Katti said. "There is a synergy that will happen instantly when Dr. Hawthorne joins us."

"Together, Dr. Katti and I cover a broad spectrum, and we should be able to do some very significant things," Hawthorne said. "I still marvel at what I found at the University of Missouri-Columbia that I have never encountered anywhere in the world. The campus literally has everything including a nuclear research reactor, a medical school, a veterinary medicine school and sincere people who are interested in collaborating with me. I realized Mizzou would be a place where I could fulfill my life's work, which is to find a new route for attacking cancer in a definitive way."

Katti's discoveries in nanoscience led to the recent opening of the Nanoparticles Production Core Facility (NPCF), one of the first on-campus facilities of its kind. The NPCF produces metallic nanoparticles made especially for medical applications in a patented process. This facility laid the groundwork for a $3.1 million grant from the National Cancer Institute, bringing together a team of 12 researchers under Katti's leadership to use cutting-edge nanotechnology to detect and treat prostate cancer at the molecular level. The grant makes MU one of 12 cancer nanotechnology platforms established by the National Cancer Institute as part of a five-year, $144 million initiative.

"We believe that the MU Research Office made a strategically important investment toward the opening of the NPCF. Our investment in nanomedicine, along with the major grant, is serving as a focal point in attracting top-notch scientists -- including National Academy of Sciences member Frederick Hawthorne -- to faculty ranks at MU," said Jim Coleman, vice provost for research.

"This combination, with the establishment of the International Institute for Nano and Molecular Medicine, should produce state-of-the-art science that can be used to produce a new generation of medical products to detect and treat cancer," Katti said. "Mizzou positions itself as one of the top-notch institutions in the world to embark on this platform."

"I have been following Dr. Hawthorne's work for 20 years and watching it develop into something that can ultimately cure significant diseases," said Robert Grubbs, 2005 winner of the Nobel Prize in chemistry and professor of chemistry at the California Institute of Technology. "It seems that MU has set up a perfect place for him to pursue his dreams."

"Dr. Hawthorne brings impeccable credentials and world-class science to MU," said Robert Churchill, radiology department chair. "To have both Dr. Hawthorne and Dr. Katti in one department is going to be phenomenal."

UCLA has been home to Hawthorne since 1969. In 1998 he was appointed University Professor of Chemistry, the most distinguished title bestowed upon faculty by the Regents of the University of California. He served as editor-in-chief for Inorganic Chemistry from 1969-2000. Hawthorne was a co-winner of the prestigious King Faisal International Prize for Science in 2003 for achievements that will have a profound effect on cancer therapy. He will hold joint appointments at MU in the Department of Radiology, Department of Chemistry and the Research Reactor.



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