Oakland University aims to take a leading role in revolutionary scientific research

Rochester, Mich. —

Oakland University is positioning itself on the cusp of what many see as the world’s third industrial revolution.

With the recent establishment of the NanoTech R&D Institute, administrators, faculty and students are expanding efforts to explore a science with an immense array of potential applications.

“That’s the excitement we have in this field — that it’s brand new,” said T.C. Yih, vice provost for research and executive director of the institute. “Almost anything you find in your research now, no one has found it before.”

Embedded in the NanoTech R&D Institute’s mission is a commitment to advance knowledge and support education in nanoscale science. Functioning at the level of the atom, the conceived machines and materials of nanotechnology hold the promise of remarkable breakthroughs in a wide array of scientific disciplines.

“Dr. Yih is a nationally recognized leader and investigator in this arena,” said Virinder Moudgil, OU’s senior vice president and provost. He added that with Yih’s leadership, the institute is well-positioned to attract support for and undertake research projects that will help shape the nanoscale revolution.

Institute members are beginning to pursue this promise through collaborative, multidisciplinary research, as well as enriched curriculum and both graduate and undergraduate student involvement. Moudgil added that highly collaborative corporate partnerships will contribute significantly to the research and development process.

Already helping get work of the institute under way is nearly $730,000 in grants and sponsorship from Octillion Co. and a $10,000 sponsorship from Nanorex. This and support from other generous benefactors and research partners will help Oakland University investigate applications of nanotechnology that address a diverse realm of need. This is particularly true in the health care industry, Yih said.

“We would like to be one of the leaders in nano-biotechnology, not only here in Michigan, but in the nation,” he explained.

The institute is likely to broaden research partnerships with the School of Engineering and Computer Science, the Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine, the School of Health Sciences and Oakland’s business incubator, OU Inc., among others.

“We want to build on our current strengths,” Yih said.  “Pretty much everyone will be a player under this umbrella of nanotechnology. Everybody has a role.”

Noting Oakland’s strengths, Moudgil added, “We are in a very good position to transform our investigative findings into real-world applications. We have the infrastructure and resources now to develop this technology and bring products to market.”

Those interested in learning more about or supporting the NanoTech R&D Institute should contact Yih at (248) 370-2552 or yih@oakland.edu.