Hundreds Drawn to NEMB 2014 for Speakers, Technical Sessions and Tutorials

Feb 13, 2014

(Left to right) Dr. Rashid Bashir, NEMB conference chair; Dr. Arun Majumdar, vice president of Energy at Google; and Dr. John C. Bischof, program chair for the conference.

The 2014 Global Congress on NanoEngineering for Medicine and Biology (NEMB 2014), held Feb. 2–5 in San Francisco, drew 300 attendees from around the globe and featured 45 technical sessions, 40 keynote and featured speakers, as well as seven plenary talks and five tutorials. For the first time in the program’s three-year history, webcasts of six plenary talks and two of the tutorials were transmitted live from the conference.

NEMB 2014 opened with plenary speaker Dr. Paul Alivisatos of University of California, Berkeley and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, who discussed “Studies of Colloidal Nanocrystals and Biological Micromolecules in Liquids Using the Transmission Electron Microscope.”

Dr. Arun Majumdar, vice president of Energy at Google and professor at Stanford University, delivered the conference centerpiece plenary, titled “What Is Impact? Lessons Learned from 20th Century Science and Engineering.”

During his presentation, Majumdar noted the importance of multidisciplinary collaboration in the laboratory and office, adding, “If you want to break down silos, mix disciplines up. Proximity matters, and you can't overestimate the impact of contact.” He also offered advice to young engineers and students in the audience: “When people say ‘your idea won’t work,’ consider if it violates laws of nature, and if it doesn’t, question that assumption.”

In addition to offering technical sessions covering nanotechnology topics ranging from diagnostics to toxicology, NEMB also featured tutorials including a primer on tissue engineering and an overview of the design and applications of microfluidic tools. Additional plenary talks included presentations by Mina Bissell of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Stephen Quake of Stanford University, John Rogers of the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, Mehmet Toner of the Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital, and Jennifer West from Duke University.

(Left to right) Conference Chair Dr. Rashid Bashir; Dr. Buddy D. Ratner, director of University of Washington Engineered Biomaterials Engineering Research Center and the Darland Endowed Chair in Technology Commercialization; Christine Reilley, ASME program manager; and Dr. Malisa Sarntinoranont, student awards coordinator.

At the special NEMB poster session, 18 finalists who were selected from the poster session of more than 80 participants proceeded to a Lightning Round presentation, where five doctoral students garnered National Science Foundation-supported awards. Nasim Taheri from Rice University and Nikita Taparia of the University of Washington tied for first place in the competition, while Sean Lubner from UC Berkeley and Ehsan Sadeghipour of Stanford University tied for second. Liangliang Hao, a doctoral student from Northwestern University, placed third in the competition. Two Audience Choice poster awards were given to Christopher O’Brien of George Washington University and Omid Khandan of UC Riverside.

Attendee Caroline N. Jones, a biomedical engineer from Harvard Medical School, noted that the “great lineup of speakers” and the chance to network with mechanical and chemical engineers who worked outside of her field drew her to the conference.

NEMB session chair Tony Dickherber of the National Cancer Institute, said NEMB is a “target-rich opportunity,” as the research presented at the conference is “well-aligned” with what the NCI is seeking to fund. Dickherber added, it was “great fun to speak with all these creative, brilliant investigators and hear their ideas.”

Archived versions of the tutorial and plenary sessions that were webcast from the conference — including the poster session Lightning Round — will be available by the end of the month on the NEMB 2014 web page, at

NEMB 2014 was organized by Conference Chair Rashid Bashir, University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign; Program Chair John C. Bischof, University of Minnesota; Steering Committee members Guy M. Genin of Washington University in St. Louis, Taher Saif of the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, and Malisa Sarntinoranont of the University of Florida; and Honorary Chair Markus J. Buehler, Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

NEMB 2015 will be held next April in Minneapolis, Minn. For further details, contact Christine Reilley, ASME program manager, at

- Christine Reilley and Kyle Leigh Avery, ASME Engineering Research and Technology Development