MODERATOR: Robert Krulwich
PARTICIPANTS: Omid Farokhzad, Peter Hoffmann, Metin Sitti
PROGRAM DATE: Thursday, May 30, 2013

Pills the size of molecules to seek and destroy tumors. Miniscule robots performing surgery inside patients with a precision never before achieved. Nanobots, a billionth of a meter across, fixing mutations in DNA, or repairing neurons in your brain. Such are the possibilities as medicine enters the nano-era. Join leading researchers who are pushing these frontiers, to learn of new cures in the coming nano-revolution and possible risks of the molecular E.R.

This program is part of “The Big, the Small, and the Complex,” a series exploring the latest developments in Astrophysics, Nanoscience, and Neuroscience—fields recognized by The Kavli Prize. Sponsored by The Kavli Foundation, the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters, and the Royal Norwegian Consulate General.

  • Share This:


Robert Krulwich
Radio and Television Journalist

Robert Krulwich has been called “the most inventive network reporter in television” by TV Guide. His specialty is explaining complex subjects, science, technology, and economics, in a style that is clear, compelling, and entertaining. On television he has explored the structure of DNA using a banana; on radio he created an Italian opera, “Ratto Interesso” to explain how the Federal Reserve regulates interest rates; he has pioneered the use of new animation on ABC’s Nightline and World News Tonight. He now reports for National Public Radio. His NPR blog, “Krulwich Wonders”, features drawings, cartoons, and videos that illustrate hard-to-see concepts in science. He is also co-host of the Peabody Award-winning radio series, “Radio Lab”.

For 22 years, Krulwich was a science, economics, general assignment, and foreign correspondent at ABC and CBS News. He has won Emmy awards for a cultural history of Barbie (the world famous doll), and for a Frontline investigation of computers and privacy, a George Polk and Emmy for a look at the Savings & Loan bailout online advertising, and an Essay Prize from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop.


Physician, Scientist

Omid Farokhzad is among the Nano50 winners by NASA Nanotech Briefs, which awards the most innovative people and design ideas that will revolutionize nanotechnology. He was one of 12 people to be recognized among the top innovators in Massachusetts by the Boston Globe. He is also one of the 15 recipients across all industries to receive the All Star Distinguished Achievement Award from the Mass High Tech Journal for his contributions to the Life Sciences industry. He is an associate professor at Harvard Medical School (HMS) and a physician-scientist in the department of anesthesiology at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH). Farokhzad directs the laboratory of nanomedicine and biomaterials at BWH. He is a faculty member of the Brigham Research Institute cancer research center at BWH. He is additionally a member of the Dana Farber/Harvard Cancer Center.

The technologies that Farokhzad has developed with collaborators at HMS and MIT have had a monumental impact on the treatment of important human diseases. These technologies formed the foundational platform for the launch of biotechnology companies: BIND Therapeutics, Selecta Biosciences, and Blend Therapeutics. Farokhzad was among the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of Year awardees for the New England region.


Peter Hoffmann is a professor of physics at Wayne State University and an Associate Dean in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. He did his undergraduate studies in physics and mathematics at Technische Universität Clausthal, Germany. He has a MS in physics from Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, and a Ph.D. in Materials Science and Engineering from Johns Hopkins University. Before coming to Wayne State, he was a research fellow at Oxford University in the UK. His research interests are the area of nanomechanics, biophysics and atomic force microscopy. He is one of the founders of the Wayne State Biomedical Physics program.


Metin Sitti’s academic discipline is robotics, with emphasis on micro- and nano-scale robotics. His research program combines applied micro/nano-robotic systems with micro/nanoscale mechanics modeling and analysis. In his NanoRobotics laboratory, the functional goal is to develop new methods to design, manufacture, and control innovative and high impact micro/nano-robotic systems in three thrust areas: miniature mobile robots, bio-inspired micro/nano-fiber adhesives, and tip based micro/nano-manipulation systems. His team had significant impacts in these three areas.

Sitti received the Ph.D. degree in electrical engineering from University of Tokyo, Japan, in 1999. He was a research scientist at University of California at Berkeley from 1999 to 2002. He is currently a professor in department of mechanical engineering and robotics institute at Carnegie Mellon University. He is the director of NanoRobotics Lab and Center for Bio-Robotics. His research interests include magnetically- and cell-actuated mobile micro-robots, bio-inspired micro/nano-materials, bio-inspired miniature robot locomotion, medical miniature robots, and micro/nano-manipulation. He is the editor-in-chief of Journal of Micro-Bio Robotics.