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Wolfram gives lecture by podium, audience in dark foreground

Science students invite celebrated scientist Joy Wolfram to campus

(Above) Mayo Clinic researcher Joy Wolfram speaks at the Fralin Life Sciences Institute auditorium.

When an opportunity arose for undergraduate students in the Virginia Tech College of Science’s Academy of Integrated Science (AIS) to invite a speaker to campus during the first week of classes in August 2019, they didn’t hesitate in their first choice: renowned nanomedicine scientist Joy Wolfram.

Wolfram is an assistant professor of medicine with the Mayo Clinic’s departments of Transplantation and Physiology and Biomedical Engineering at the research institute’s Jacksonville, Florida, campus.

Students in AIS invited her to campus on Aug. 30 as part of the academic student organization-led initiative sponsored by the Virginia Tech Life Science Seminar series and with the support of the Associate Academic Leader in Nanomedicine Carla Finkielstein, an associate professor with the Department of Biological Sciences and a member of the Fralin Life Sciences Institute.

“We researched nanoscientists who we felt could bring excitement and passion for their work to Virginia Tech and show the students what is possible at the nanoscale,” said Ethan Boeding of Mechanicsville, Virginia, a senior majoring in nanoscience who is also the lead nanoscience ambassador. “Dr. Joy Wolfram was an obvious choice for this role as she is a motivated, pioneer researcher in nanomedicine that is well accomplished.”

In addition to Boeding, the search and invitation for a speaker was spearheaded by Gigi Grogan, a senior from Dunkirk, Maryland, who is the lead student ambassador for nanomedicine in the College of Science.

Wolfram focuses her research on developing new methods for treating disease using nanomedicine, in particular extracellular vesicle therapeutics and methods for organotropic drug delivery. She is also known widely for a popular TEDxJacksonville talk she gave in fall 2018. Her lecture focused on “Synthetic and Biological Nanoparticles for Cancer and Beyond.”

“Nanoscience is growing increasingly vital to translational medicine to help develop advanced diagnostic tools and treatment strategies,” Finkielstein said of Wolfram’s talk, adding that “Ethan and Gigi did fantastic” in organizing the event with assistance from AIS staff member Cara Conley.

The day included a lunch with Wolfram and several students in the nanoscience and nanomedicine majors. “The day went smoothly, and I was happy that she could experience what it’s like to be at Virginia Tech even on such a short visit,” Boeding said.

For further reading and a video on Wolfram’s lecture, visit Science students invite celebrated nanoscientist to campus for guest lecture