Meet Us - NCI Office of Cancer Nanotechnology Research
|Piotr Grodzinski, Ph.D.|
Scott E. McNeil, Ph.D.
Nick Panaro, Ph.D.
Dorothy F. Farrell, Ph.D.
Stephanie A. Morris, Ph.D.
Christopher M. Hartshorn, Ph.D.
Natalie Fedorova Abrams, Ph.D.
Christina Liu, Ph.D., P.E.
Dr. Piotr Grodzinski is Director of the Nanotechnology for Cancer programs at NCI. He coordinates program and research activities of the Alliance for Nanotechnology in Cancer which has received dedicated NCI funds (2004–present). These funds have supported the formation of multiple interdisciplinary centers, as well as individual research and training programs, targeting nanotechnology solutions for improved prevention, detection, and treatment of cancer.
Dr. Grodzinski is a materials scientist by training, but found bio- and nanotechnology fascinating. In the mid-nineties, he left the world of semiconductor research and built a large microfluidics program at Motorola Corporate Research & Development in Arizona. The group made important contributions to the development of integrated microfluidics for genetic sample preparation with its work being featured in Chemical & Engineering News and Nature Reviews. After his tenure at Motorola, Dr. Grodzinski joined the Bioscience Division of Los Alamos National Laboratory where he served as a Group Leader and an interim Chief Scientist for the Department of Energy's Center for Integrated Nanotechnologies (CINT).
Dr. Grodzinski received his Ph.D. in Materials Science from the University of Southern California, Los Angeles in 1992. He is an inventor on 15 patents and has authored over 100 technical publications and conference presentations.
Dr. Grodzinski has been an invited speaker and has served on the committees of numerous bio- and nano-Micro-Electromechanical Systems conferences.
Dr. McNeil serves as the Director of the Nanotechnology Characterization Laboratory (NCL) for SAIC-Frederick and Frederick National Laboratory for Cancer Research, where he coordinates preclinical characterization of nanotech cancer therapeutics and diagnostics. At the NCL, Dr. McNeil leads a team of scientists responsible for testing candidate nanotech drugs and diagnostics, evaluating safety and efficacy, and assisting with product development – from discovery-level, through scale-up and into clinical trials. NCL has assisted in characterization and evaluation of more than 300 nanotechnology products, several of which are now in human clinical trials. Dr. McNeil is a member of several working groups on nanomedicine, environmental health and safety, and other nanotechnology issues. He is an invited speaker to numerous nanotechnology-related conferences and has several patents pending related to nanotechnology and biotechnology. He is also a Vice President of SAIC-Frederick.
Prior to establishing the NCL, he served as a Senior Scientist in the Nanotech Initiatives Division at SAIC where he transitioned basic nanotechnology research to government and commercial markets. He advises industry and State and US Governments on the development of nanotechnology and is a member of several governmental and industrial working groups related to nanotechnology policy, standardization and commercialization. Dr. McNeil’s professional career includes tenure as an Army Officer, with tours as Chief of Biochemistry at Tripler Army Medical Center, and as a Combat Arms officer during the Gulf War. He received his bachelor's degree in Chemistry from Portland State University and his Ph.D. in Cell Biology from Oregon Health Sciences University.
Dr. Nick Panaro joined the Nanotechnology Characterization Laboratory (NCL) in January 2008. His responsibilities include the management of contracts for SAIC-Frederick and technical and scientific oversight of National Cancer Institute (NCI) programs including the NCI Alliance for Nanotechnology in Cancer and Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grants. He also serves as the liaison between the NCL and the NCI Alliance for Nanotechnology in Cancer.
Prior to joining NCL, Dr. Panaro conducted postdoctoral research at the University of Pennsylvania, where he focused on the design and fabrication of micro-electromechanical systems for genetic analysis and development of nylon nanostructures for clinical assays. Dr. Panaro was also a postdoctoral fellow at NCI where his research focused on tumor angiogenesis. He holds a B.S. degree in Chemical Engineering from Drexel University and a Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from Rice University's Biomedical Engineering Laboratory. He has extensive laboratory experience in microfluidics, cell and molecular biology, analytical techniques, and tissue engineering. Dr. Panaro has also worked as a patent examiner at the United States Patent and Trademark Office where his work focused on the evaluation of patent applications in the areas of biosensors and microarrays.
In her role as a program director for the NCI Alliance for Nanotechnology in Cancer, Dr. Dorothy Farrell oversees and manages nanotechnology development projects, implements new nanotechnology development initiatives, and evaluates the effectiveness of Alliance programs. She acts as a technical resource for Alliance members by promoting collaboration among researchers and assisting industry representatives in identifying opportunities for collaboration with the National Cancer Institute.
Dr. Farrell received her doctorate in Physics from Carnegie Mellon University, where her thesis project focused on the synthesis and characterization of self-assembled arrays of magnetic nanoparticles. She then spent two years at University College London on a Royal Society USA Research Fellowship, where she worked on the preparation of nanoparticle-antibody conjugates for use in cancer therapy. She returned to the United States to work at the Naval Research Laboratory, as part of the National Research Council's Research Associate Program, developing a poly(ethylene glycol) based ligand to prepare biocompatible iron oxide nanoparticles. Dr. Farrell received her Bachelor of Science degree in Physics from Brooklyn College, City University of New York.
Dr. Stephanie A. Morris serves as a program director for the NCI Alliance for Nanotechnology in Cancer program in the Office of Cancer Nanotechnology Research (OCNR). She manages nanotechnology research awards overseen by the program and participates in the development of new research initiatives. She also participates on several NIH and interagency committees and working groups, especially those focused on nanoinformatics.
Prior to joining OCNR, Dr. Morris performed her postdoctoral work at NCI in the Laboratory of Receptor Biology and Gene Expression, focusing on the genome-wide activity of chromatin remodeling enzymes involved in nuclear receptor function and oncogenesis. She was funded by a UNCF-Merck Postdoctoral Fellowship. In addition to her postdoctoral research, Dr. Morris led the development of a chromatin postdoctoral seminar series. She also served as the Senior Editor of the NIH Fellows Editorial Board. She received her Ph.D. in Biochemistry and Biophysics from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where she studied the function of histone-modifying enzymes during transcription elongation. Before pursuing her graduate studies, Dr. Morris worked at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, where she directed an Analytical Ultracentrifugation Facility in the Laboratory of Macromolecular Analysis and Proteomics, and studied the biophysical properties of protein/nucleic acid conformational changes. She graduated from Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut with a B.A. in Biology, and Neuroscience and Behavior.
Dr. Christopher M. Hartshorn serves as a program director in NCI's Office of Cancer Nanotechnology Research. In this role, he manages nano-centric research projects, evaluates effectiveness of the programs, and maintains proper stewardship over federally funded research. He serves as a technical expert to the extramural programs, acts as senior editor / author on strategic Alliance documents, and participates in the development and direction of new research initiatives in CSSI.
Prior to joining the OCNR, Dr. Hartshorn worked for the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) on the research and development of novel high-speed, non-invasive nonlinear optical imaging modalities for tumor histopathology and led projects for in situ materials and pharmaceutical characterization. In addition to his research, he co-founded and led the NIST Material Measurement Laboratory Post-doctoral Association and served on the Washington Editorial Review Board. Over his research career, Dr. Hartshorn has co-authored many peer reviewed publications including several in Nature journals within the disciplines of nanomaterials, photonics, and biology as well as co-authoring several funded grants and book chapters. He has been recipient of two national fellowships, an invited speaker for many conferences, and is a member of Sigma Xi and American Chemical Society. Dr. Hartshorn earned his Ph.D. in Physical Chemistry from Washington State University where his research focused on modeling the physical effects of nanomaterials at biological interfaces, development of nanoparticle-DNA oligomer conjugates for single-molecule measurement of HIV-RT binding kinetics, and for development of a multi-antigen biosensor. Furthermore, he co-authored a collaborative discovery of the modulus-density scaling behaviour and framework architecture for nanoporous silicates.
Dr. Abrams serves as a program director for NCI's Office of Cancer Nanotechnology Research. She manages nanotechnology projects and grants, participates in the development of new initiatives, and evaluates the effectiveness of programs within the Alliance for Nanotechnology in Cancer.
Most recently, she was a manager and scientific lead at the Informatics Core at the NCIs Center for Cancer Research. Prior to this position, Dr. Abrams was an assistant professor at the J. Craig Venter Institute where she led several research projects in the areas of eukaryotic genomics and infectious disease. She is well published, having written over 50 peer-reviewed publications and eight book chapters. Dr. Abrams was also involved in grant review and has served on the editorial boards of three biomedical journals. She received her Ph.D. in Biology from the Institute of Molecular Biology in Moscow.
Dr. Liu serves as a program director for NCI's Office of Cancer Nanotechnology Research. She manages nanotechnology projects and grants, participates in the development of new initiatives, and evaluates the effectiveness of programs within the Alliance for Nanotechnology in Cancer.
Dr. Liu graduated with a Ph.D from Rice University in Chemical Engineering and subsequently worked in the Petrophysical Interpretation Group in Baker Hughes Oil Service Company in Houston, TX where magnetic resonance data (MRI) was used for oil exploration. While there, she earned her Professional Engineer License in the State of Texas. She later moved to Boston, MA for her postdoctoral training and independent research at Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School with research focusing on drug addiction and stroke using contrast-enhanced functional and molecular MRI.
In 2010, Christina became a Health Scientist Administrator in the Division of Biomedical Technology of National Center for Research Resources (NCRR) where she served as Program Officer for the Shared Instrumentation Programs. Most recently, Dr. Liu was program director within the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB). Christina had joined the Division of Applied Science and Technology at NIBIB in 2012 where she managed MRI/Optical/Ultrasound-based Molecular Imaging Technology and Structural Biology portfolios. She also served as the Coordinator for NIBIB's Biomedical Technology Resource Centers (P41) Program.