Alessandra Luchini, a scientist in George Mason University's Center for Applied Proteomics and Molecular Medicine, was awarded the inaugural Premio Award for the top Italian female scientist in North America.
Luchini was cited for her contributions in the development of smart hydrogel nanoparticles that mix with a patient's blood or urine, soaking up protein biomarkers and protecting them against degradation when they are extracted for analysis.
In addition to being used for the identification of biomarkers for cancer and other diseases, their use in urine-based anti-doping tests for the detection of human growth hormones are being studied, Luchini said in a statement issued by the university.
Last year, a company called Ceres Nanosciences was launched by Emanuel Petricoin and Lance Liotta to exploit the technology [see PM 07/24/08]. Liotta and Petricoin co-founded CAPMM at GMU in 2005 and are its co-directors.