Ming Hsieh Institute Symposium Explores Nanomedicine

Mauro Ferrari discusses the application of biomedical nanotechnology.

Small medicine was the big idea as the Health Sciences campus hosted the USC Ming Hsieh Institute for Research on Engineering Medicine for Cancer Symposium on Sept. 29.

The inaugural event focused on bridging research in engineering and the sciences with clinical needs, as well as partnering with industry in the quest to develop better therapies.

USC president C. L. Max Nikias delivered the opening remarks and introduced USC trustee and alumnus Ming Hsieh ’83 MS ’84, who established his namesake institute with a $50 million gift in October 2010.

“The ambitious goal of the Ming Hsieh Institute is to make USC a leader in cancer research that bridges medicine, engineering and the sciences,” Nikias said. “Thanks to Ming, we are well on our way to conducting integrated transformational research that will bring recovery and renewal to the lives of cancer patients.”

Hsieh acknowledged the symposium’s various presenters from the the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences,the USC Viterbi School of Engineering, the Keck School of Medicine of USC and the USC School of Pharmacy.

“This represents cooperation, teamwork and a grand effort on behalf of our Health Sciences and University Park campuses to represent one united USC,” he said.

The keynote address was delivered by Mauro Ferrari, president and chief executive officer of the Methodist Hospital Research Institute in Houston. Ferrari is an expert in the development, refinement and application of biomedical nanotechnology.

According to Ferrari, nanotechnology is a necessary component of individualizing medicine. Getting the right therapeutics to the right people at the right time is critical in combating cancer in its many different forms, he said, adding that engineering and physics play a big role in customizing drugs to be more effective.

Ferrari concluded with praise for USC and its interdisciplinary approach to innovation.

“I don’t know of any other institution in the country that has been able to be so visionary and so consistent in its focus on bringing together great talents across the dividing wall which should not be there between medicine and engineering.”