UK Happenings

Cancer Nanotechnology Training Center Presents Denis Wirtz

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Sept. 22, 2011) - The University of Kentucky Cancer Nanotechnology Training Center (CNTC) will present its fall seminar series Sept. 27, and will feature speaker Denis Wirtz, professor of engineering science at Johns Hopkins University.

Wirtz will give his presentation, "Cancer Cell Migration in 3D," at noon, Tuesday, Sept. 27 in MN 463 Medical Science Building on UK's campus.

Wirtz earned a physics engineering degree at the Ecole Polytechnique of the Université Libre de Bruxelles (Belgium) in 1988. With a Hoover fellowship, he moved to Stanford University, where he earned a Ph.D. in 1993 in chemical engineering for work in polymer physics. With a “Human Capital Mobility” fellowship of the European Union, he did postdoctoral research at the Ecole Supérieure de Physique et Chimie Industrielles (ESPCI) in Paris, France. He joined the faculty of the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at Johns Hopkins University in 1994 and was promoted to the rank of full professor in 2003. He is currently T.H. Smoot Professor of Engineering Science. He is associate editor of the Biophysical Journal, Physical Biology, and Cell Adhesion and Migration and is editor-in-chief of Cell Health and the Cytoskeleton.

Wirtz is also co-director of the Johns Hopkins Institute for NanoBioTechnology (INBT), director of the HHMI-funded graduate training program in nanotechnology for biology and medicine, director of the NCI-funded postdoctoral training program in nanotechnology for cancer medicine, and director of the new NCI-funded Engineering in Oncology Center, all at Johns Hopkins University. His research is currently supported by regular and center grants from NIH, NSF, and the American Heart Association.

Wirtz has made important contributions in molecular and biophysical mechanisms of cell motility and adhesion and nuclear dynamics in health and disease. He pioneered the method of particle-tracking microrheology to probe the rheological properties of complex fluids and living cells and tissues.

Wirtz is author and co-author of 125 peer-reviewed articles published in top journals including Science, Nature, Nature Cell Biology, Nature Methods, Nature Reviews Cancer, Nature Materials, Nature Protocols, PNAS, and Journal of Cell Biology. Nine of his students and postdoctoral fellows are in faculty positions at research universities. His work at Hopkins has been cited more than 5,000 times and he is regularly invited to give lectures at international conferences and gave the Schwartz Lectureship at Johns Hopkins University in 2009. He has also given numerous presentations at universities and research institutions around the world. Wirtz was named fellow of the Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering in 2007, fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in 2009, and fellow of the APS in 2010.

CNTC, supported by the NCI/NIH and part of the National Cancer Institute Alliance for Nanotechnology in Cancer, provides advanced multidisciplinary training for advanced graduate students and postdoctoral fellows toward the goal of creating a new type of cancer nanotechnology researcher who will fully appreciate the breadth of disciplines involved in translating novel laboratory findings to cancer diagnosis and treatment.