BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Paras N. Prasad, Ph.D., SUNY Distinguished
Professor in the Department of Chemistry at the University at
Buffalo, has been named one of the Scientific American 50, the
prestigious magazine's annual list of "outstanding acts of
leadership in science and technology from the past year."
Prasad was selected for his research using customized
nanoparticles developed by him and his colleagues to achieve gene
therapy, avoiding the need to rely on potentially toxic viruses as
Executive director of UB's multidisciplinary Institute for
Lasers, Photonics and Biophotonics, he is a faculty member in the
Department of Chemistry in UB's College of Arts and Sciences.
Selected by the magazine's board of editors and outside experts,
the Scientific American 50 recognizes research, business and policy
The list of the Scientific American 50 appears in the December
issue of Scientific American, which will be on newsstands on Nov.
"The University at Buffalo is honored to have one of our
distinguished faculty included among the Scientific American 50,"
said Jorge José, Ph.D., UB vice president for research.
"Dr. Prasad and his work are prime examples of the
multidisciplinary focus that will guide the future of scientific
research in the 21st century. The success of his efforts is
demonstrated by the wide range of support he has received from the
National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, the
New York State Office of Science, Technology and Academic Research
and the Oishei Foundation, among others. He also has been in the
forefront of efforts in translational research from the laboratory
to the marketplace with tangible results for Western New York.
"This is a well-deserved recognition and we're very proud that
Dr. Prasad is a member of our faculty," José continued.
John Rennie, editor-in-chief of the magazine, said, "The
Scientific American 50 is our annual opportunity to salute the
people and organizations worldwide whose research, policy or
business leadership has played a major role in bringing about the
science and technology innovations that are improving the way we
live and offer the greatest hope for the future."
The magazine describes Prasad's research involving an animal
model as providing new hope for fixing genetic defects.
Prasad and his colleagues used gene-nanoparticle complexes to
activate adult brain stem/progenitor cells in vivo, demonstrating
that it may be possible to 'turn on' these otherwise idle cells as
effective replacements for those destroyed by neurodegenerative
diseases, such as Parkinson's.
The UB research, conducted by a multidisciplinary group,
including Michael K. Stachowiak, Ph.D., UB associate professor of
pathology and anatomical sciences, also demonstrates that the
nanoparticles can serve as promising models for studying the
genetic mechanisms of the brain.
The research is a critical part of the nanomedicine program of
UB's Institute for Lasers, Photonics and Biophotonics, which also
has received support from State Senator Mary Lou Rath.
Last month, Prasad was awarded a major National Cancer Institute
grant aimed at developing nanotechnologies for earlier detection
methods and more effective treatments for pancreatic cancer.
Prasad holds the Samuel P. Capen Chair at UB, as well as joint
appointments in the departments of physics, medicine and electrical
engineering in UB's College of Arts and Sciences, the School of
Medicine and Biomedical Sciences and the School of Engineering and
In addition to his nanomedicine research, Prasad conducts
pioneering research in the development and application of
two-photon technology for biophotonics and 3-D
With 10 patents to his credit, he is the author of "Introduction
to Biophotonics" (John Wiley & Sons, 2003) and "Nanophotonics"
(John Wiley & Sons, 2004). The first two monographs to
comprehensively address these fields, they were published to
Prasad has published more than 500 scientific papers, co-edited
six books and co-authored a monograph (with D.J. Williams),
"Introduction to Nonlinear Optical Effects in Molecules and
He lives in Amherst.