Mostafa El-Sayed Wins 2007 Medal of Science

Mostafa El-Sayed, Regents Professor in Georgia Tech's School of Chemistry and Biochemistry, has just been awarded the 2007 Medal of Science, the nation's highest honor in the field.

"My goodness. I am very fortunate and lucky to be doing science in America. There are so many excellent people doing science all over this country," said El-Sayed, who holds the Julius Brown Chair and is also the director of the Laser Dynamics Laboratory.

"I want to thank my past and present graduate students and postdotoral fellows , my colleagues, the administration and staff at Georgia Tech and UCLA who all helped me to do my science and get this honor. There was no limit to the support I received,' he added.

El-Sayed's citation reads: "For his seminal and creative contributions to our understanding of the electronic and optical properties of nano-materials and to their applications in nano-catalysis and nano-medicine, for his humanitarian efforts of exchange among countries and for his role in developing the scientific leadership of tomorrow."

He will receive the medal at a White House ceremony on September 29.

Currently, El-Sayed is working with his son Ivan, of the University of California, San Francisco, to develop cylindrical gold nanorods that can bind to cancer cells. Once the cells are bound to the gold, they scatter light ,which makes them easy to detect. Using a laser, they can selectively destroy the cancer cells without harming the healthy cells. The nanorods are tuned to a frequency that allows them to use lasers that can delve under the skin to kill cancer cells without harming the skin.

The National Medal of Science honors individuals for pioneering scientific research in a range of fields, including physical, biological, mathematical, social, behavioral and engineering sciences, that enhances understanding of the world and leads to innovations and technologies that give the United States its global economic edge. The National Science Foundation administers the award, which was established by Congress in 1959.