Technology for Sustainable Development at UNAI-Amrita Conference by Dr. Shantikumar V. Nair, Dean of Research, Amrita University
The first team presentation focused on how nanotechnology can further enable existing technologies to provide new ways to tackle the problems of healthcare, energy and water.
Professor Shantikumar Nair, Dean of Research, Amrita University, led the team that included collaborators, Dr. Claude Bernard from the Australian Regenerative Medicine Institute, Monash University and Professor Seeram Ramakrishna, Director of the Centre for Nanofibers and Nanotechnology, The National University of Singapore.
Professor Shantikumar Nair started with a brief introduction to the nanoscale. "One gram of nano material has a surface area the size of a football field" he stated, saying that this enormous surface and small size provide nanotechnology the capacity to store and deliver drugs, improve the efficiency of energy generating mechanisms and capture antigens and contaminants for water purification.
He also presented the highlights of some of Amrita's work in this area, such as, early detection of oral cancer by light, overcoming drug resistance by nano medicines, integrating energy generation and storage and nano-textiles for medical and water purification purposes.
Professor Claude Bernard focused on immune related disorders which he said, "is a mounting public-health concern around the world and will continue to be so in the future." His talk addressed how nano vaccines and nano-therapeutic options can be used for treating diseases of immune origin. This would he said "provide a better understanding of human diseases and help ease their financial burden to society."
Professor Seeram Ramakrishna addressed a very timely problem of the nanotechnology divide, namely how to ensure that the benefits of nanotechnology are accessible to all. He said that it is timely for the UN to promote a shared-mission approach so as to encourage and involve all to support and benefit from nanotechnology. Specifically, he addressed the value of setting up a nano tech IP exchange and knowledge exchange platform, the importance of designing sustainable nano tech products by proper lifecycle assessment and the creation of effective nano tech consortiums for effective translation of nano tech products.
In summary, the team highlighted the tremendous role nano tech could play in social transformation and the tools to increase its access to all. In particular the deliverable of this team was to start on setting up the IP and knowledge exchange platform and encourage researchers from around the world to participate and join in this effort in addition to their continuing to develop their technical contributions to the field.