IEEE Washington/Northern Virginia

Sensors Council Chapter



Upcoming event by the IEEE Wash/ NoVA Sensor Council Chapter (Co-sponsored by NoVA Nanotechnology Council Chapter, Wash/NoVA Electron Devices Society Chapter, Wash COMSOC, Wash/NOVA Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society Chapter):

Date and Time: Thu, Feb. 5, 2015, 12pm (noon)-1pm (Pizza lunch will be provided)

Place:   Ballston Conference Center, 3811 North Fairfax Drive, Suite 600,  Arlington, VA 22203 (please sign in at the reception and check for room number)

Contact: Jurgen Daniel (, 408-515-0045


Title: “Nano Frontiers in biomedical engineering: targeting therapies to the ear, tooth, and brain”

Speaker: Dr. Didier A Depireux, Inst. for Systems Research, U. Maryland, College Park, MD


New active delivery systems based on nanotechnologies show great promise as a means for direct and safe delivery of medications used to treat numerous diseases. The current approach to pharmacotherapy typically involves systemic administration of medications at doses high enough to be efficacious at target sites where drug access is limited. This leads to adverse side-effects in tissues where no drug is needed. We have shown that magnetic core nanoparticles and the appropriate control system may serve as a means for precise, extended delivery of anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, or regenerative compounds into target tissues that are notoriously difficult to target. We have applied this technology to the ear to treat hearing loss and tinnitus, to infections and inflammation in teeth, and to target deep brain structures. We have shown that the nanoparticles are non-toxic, and allow us to reach therapeutic drug levels at discrete locations while avoiding systemic exposure. Engineered nanoparticles have the potential to revolutionize the diagnosis and treatment of many diseases. Much progress remains to be done in the control and monitoring of nanoparticles once in the body.



Didier Depireux is Associate Research Scientist at the Institute for Systems Research at the University of Maryland, College Park. He received his PhD in the field of String Theory with S.J.Gates, and completed post-doctoral work working on Conformal Field Theory. His interests shifted to Computational Neuroscience and he moved to the Institute for Systems Research at the University of Maryland at College Park, where he studied the neuroscience of hearing with S.Shamma. He then joined the faculty of the Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology at the U of Maryland School of Medicine.  He has recently returned to the Institute for Systems Research, with adjunct appointments in Bioengineering and in Otorhinolaryngology. His principal interest is the understanding of the auditory pathway in health and in disease, particularly in the presence of tinnitus, with an eye or an ear to alleviating these debilitating  conditions.