ACS Logo
Chicago ACS Masthead image   

September 24, 2010 Meeting
Joint with the Chemistry Department of Loyola University
and the Chicago Chemists' Club
Education Night


Prof. Vicki Colvin
Vicki Colvin

Kenneth S. Pitzer-Schlumberger Professor of Chemistry and Professor of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering
Rice University

“Nanotechnology in the Environment: Safety by Design”

Date:  September 24, 2010

Loyola University
Flanner Hall
6525 N. Sheridan Road
Chemistry Dept/Flanner Hall
Chicago, IL


Cost:  $12 per person, flat charge.  Dinner served cafeteria style at nearby Simpson Living Center.

Dinner reservations are required and should be received in the Section Office via phone (847-391-9091), email (, or web by noon on Wednesday, September 22.   PLEASE HONOR YOUR RESERVATIONS.  The Section must pay for all food orders.  No-shows will be billed.  Seating will be available for those who wish to attend only the meeting.


4:30 - 5:30 PM Loyola Chemistry Student Poster Session, Flanner Hall lobby
4:30 - 5:30 PM  Social Hour, Flanner Hall
5:00 - 6:00 PM Job Club
5:00 - 6:30 PM Dinner, served cafeteria style at the Simpson Living Center
7:30 PM High School Scholarship Exam Awards Presentation
7:45 PM Lecture, Professor Vicki Colvin

Note: All activities except for dinner will be in Flanner Hall at Loyola

After Dinner Topic: “Nanotechnology in the Environment: Safety by Design”


Nanotechnology-enabled systems offer much promise for solving difficult environmental problems ranging from water purification to waste remediation. These solutions must not only be cost-effective and sustainable, but they must also be safe for people and the environment. Our emerging understanding of the interface between nanomaterials and biological systems gives us the critical ability to approach the latter issue early in the development of nanotechnology. This talk will discuss in some detail how the chemical and physical properties of engineered nanomaterials impact their biological effects in model systems.

Three case studies, ranging from fullerenes to metal oxides, illustrate the vast diversity of nanomaterial features and biological response. The composition of a nanomaterial is the primary factor in describing acute biological effects, and among the different examples nanoparticle charge and surface coating can be of equal importance. Interestingly, the size of the inorganic material itself in these three examples, such an important feature for applications development, is secondary in defining the materials’ acute biological effect. In all cases, the biological and environmental compartments experienced by nanomaterials lead to substantial modification of their hydrodynamic size and charge. The bio-modified material that results is the central element to understand and characterize in order to detect the underlying correlations between the inorganic nanomaterial phase, composition and size with biological outcomes. These correlations form the basis for guidelines that permit researchers creating new nanoparticles to focus their energy on materials that are ‘safe by design’.


Dr. Vicki Colvin received her Bachelor's degree in chemistry and physics from Stanford University in 1988, and in 1994 obtained her Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of California, Berkeley. During her time at the University of California, Berkeley, Colvin was awarded the American Chemical Society's Victor K. LaMer Award for her work in colloid and surface chemistry. Colvin completed her postdoctoral work at AT&T Bell Labs.

In 1996, she was recruited by Rice University to expand its nanotechnology program. Currently she serves as Kenneth S. Pitzer-Schlumberger Professor of Chemistry and Professor of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering. She also serves as Co-Director of Richard E. Smalley Institute for Nanoscale Science and Technology and Director of the Center for Biological and Environmental Nanotechnology (CBEN). CBEN was one of the nation's first Nanoscience and Engineering Centers funded by the National Science Foundation. One of CBEN's primary areas of interest is the application of nanotechnology to the environment.

She has received numerous accolades for her teaching abilities, including Phi Beta Kappa's Teaching Prize for 1998-1999 and the Camille Dreyfus Teacher Scholar Award in 2002. She was named one of Discover Magazine's "Top 20 Scientists to Watch" and received an Alfred P. Sloan Fellowship in 2002. Her research in low-field magnetic separation of nanocrystals was named Top Five (no. 2 of 5) Nanotech Breakthroughs of 2006 by Forbes/Wolfe Nanotech Report, and resulted in her being named 2007 Best & Brightest Honoree by Esquire Magazine; she was also named a Fellow in the Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), 2007-2008.

Dr. Colvin is also a frequent contributor to Science, Advanced Materials, Physical Review Letters and other peer-reviewed journals, having authored/co-authored over 75 articles, and holds patents to seven inventions.

Map and Directions

Parking:   Enter the campus at the intersection of Kenmore and Sheridan Road and bear to the left. Parking is available at the parking deck next to Flanner Hall for $7.00. Enter the garage at the entrance marked “Faculty, Students, Guests, Visitors.” When leaving the garage, first purchase an exit parking ticket at the pay station machine located near the garage stairs and elevators.


An excellent dinner will be in the nearby Simpson Living Center and is served cafeteria style. The cafeteria provides a large variety of items on an all-you-can-eat basis. A portion of the cafeteria will be reserved for ACS attendees. Dinner admission tickets are obtained at the ACS registration table in Flanner Hall for a flat charge of $12.00 per person. No discounted dinners for students, retirees or unemployed.


Last updated 8/4/10
Copyright © 2000-2010, Chicago Section, The American Chemical Society
Webs by Wizardcraft