James Adair

Jim Adair

Taking even a glance at the work Jim Adair’s research group has done, it’s impossible to ignore his interest in nanoparticles. Through the years, his group has developed and adapted many innovative methods to synthesize these particles. The tools of their trade include sol-gel processing—a wet technique used to gel solutions of precursor into colloidal particles or other structures—and hydrothermal processing, which they use to crystallize particles from water-based solutions at very high temperatures.

His lab is interested in more than just synthesis, though. The nanoparticles they produce find homes in many applications, whether structural, optical, or electronic. Nanoparticles are particularly useful in imaging applications, even in bioimaging, where researchers must be vigilant to keep their materials nontoxic. By embedding a fluorescent dye in calcium phosphate nanoparticles, Adair’s group found they could image tumors with much higher intensity than the dye itself alone. This technique can even locate small tumors—a great advantage, as smaller tumors are easier to treat successfully. These particles are also bioresorbable; after a time, they will simply dissolve and be excreted by the body, leaving it unharmed. He hopes to optimize these particles to deliver cancer drugs directly to the tumor, avoiding the complexity and side effects of surgery and chemotherapy. Adair is the co-founder and chief science officer of Keystone Nano, a company developing nanotechnology solutions for many types of cancer.

To further improve the quality of medical care, Adair collaborates with Professor Mary Frecker in mechanical engineering and Randy Haluck, MD, Director of the Minimally Invasive Surgery Program at Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, to fabricate micrometer-scale surgical tools used to perform ultraprecise cutting and grasping with minimal tissue damage.

Dr. Adair received his B.S. in Chemistry and his M.S. and Ph.D. in Materials Science and Engineering from the University of Florida, after which he worked as a Fulbright Post-doctoral Fellow at the University of Western Australia and the Royal Perth Hospital. He is the author or co-author of over 185 publications, 12 patents and co-editor of 10 books, including the Handbook of Characterization Techniques for the Solid-Solution Interface. Dr. Adair is a past Chair of the Basic Science Division of the American Ceramic Society, and is a member of the American Ceramic Society and the World Academy of Ceramics as a Fellow, American Chemical Society, Materials Research Society, and the New York Academy of Sciences. He was elected as an Academician in the Science Division of the World Academy of Ceramics in 2005.

Research Catagory: 
Sample "designer" particles: alpha-alumina oxide particles.