What is chemical nanoscience?
Chemical nanoscience is the study of matter at an extremely small scale called the nanoscale. To put this into perspective: the average sheet of paper is almost 100,000 nanometres thick, human hair ranges from 80,000-100,000 nanometres wide, and one water molecule is about 1.5 nanometres long! It is important to study matter at the nanoscale because many biological processes occur at this scale. Chemical nanoscience can therefore be used to develop sensitive diagnostic tests that search for biomarkers related to diseases such as cancer. Nanoparticles can also be used to target drug delivery specifically to cancer cells.
What does it take to be a chemical nanoscientist?
Chemical nanoscientists are usually trained in chemistry, physics, or engineering and have undergraduate and graduate degrees in these fields. Knowledge of the life sciences, cancer biology, and computer science is an asset for this profession. The work of a chemical nanoscientist involves performing experiments using nano-sized particles in laboratories. Chemical informaticians are expected to stay up to date with new developments in the fields of both chemistry and nanotechnology.
Where is the field of chemical nanoscience heading?
Chemical nanoscience is a rapidly evolving field and can be applied to drug delivery and tumour imaging. These approaches allow for earlier diagnoses, less-invasive treatments, and more robust response monitoring in cancer patients. Another emerging area in chemical nanoscience is theranostics, which combines targeted diagnostic tests with nanotechnology. The ultimate goal of theranostics is to create a single powerful chemical entity that can aid in diagnosis, drug delivery, and monitoring both treatment response and cancer progression. Chemical nanoscience technologies lay the foundation for future personalized and precision medicine approaches to treating cancer.