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NEWS | Aug. 12, 2014

Dr. Igor Medintz Honored with 2013 Arthur S. Flemming Award

By Donna McKinney

Dr. Igor Medintz, a research biologist working at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory (NRL), has been awarded the 2013 Arthur S. Flemming Award in the category of Basic Science. Dr. Medintz is recognized for his vision and dedication as a research biologist which have established him as a world-recognized leader in the growing field of bionanotechnology.

The Flemming Awards, established in 1948, honor outstanding federal employees in the categories of applied science, engineering and mathematics, research, and managerial or legal achievement. Recognized by the president of the United States, agency heads and the private sector, the winners are selected from all areas of the federal service. More than 600 individuals have received the award to date. Dr. Flemming, for whom the award is named, was the quintessential public servant, serving every president from Franklin D. Roosevelt to Bill Clinton, who bestowed upon him the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1994. Past award recipients include such well-known federal employees as Daniel Patrick Moynihan, Neil Armstrong, Robert Gates, and Dr. Anthony Fauci. Previous NRL Flemming awardees include Dr. George Carruthers and Dr. Leonard Tender.

Dr. Medintz is one of NRL's leading scientists engaged in bionanotechnology. Under the National Nanotechnology Initiative, the Department of Defense is tasked with developing new materials by functionally integrating biological molecules with nanoparticles to provide breakthroughs in biosensing, nanomedicine, and energy harvesting for enhancing warfighter capabilities and battle system components. He is one of the very few who realized at an early point the technological importance of such bio-nano hybrids and the role the interface between these two materials plays in defining the biological function. One of Dr. Medintz's more important achievements is his elucidation of how quantum dots (a special type of nanoparticle) engage in different types of transfer energy with other nanoparticles and bio/organic molecules. He has demonstrated that such nanoscale assemblies can lead to biosensors capable of monitoring the chemical states within a single human. Sensing and understanding biological function at a single cell level, can lead to a better understanding of diseases and hence enable developments of new treatments.

Dr. Medintz earned his doctorate in molecular biology from the Graduate School and University Center of the City University of New York in 1999. This was followed by post-doctoral research at the College of Chemistry, University of California Berkeley, and some time in private industry.

At NRL, Dr. Medintz is head of the Laboratory for Biosensors & Biomaterials. He came to NRL in 2002, working as a National Research Council Postdoctoral Fellow. In 2004, he became a research biologist at NRL. He says, I enjoy hands-on lab work and so I chose employment at a federal lab since it afforded the opportunity to work on basic research issues and to also spend a significant amount of time at the lab bench.

Dr. Medintz has also been honored with the Emerging Investigator Award, one of the 2007 Top Navy Scientists and Engineers of the Year Awards. He was also named to Who's Who in Fluorescence 2006-2012. He has coauthored more than 150 peer-reviewed papers and holds 11 patents.

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