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Guest Lecture - Gabriel A. Montano

Lauren Erica Davis

On April 2, 2012 Gabriel A. Montano came to speak with us about his research in Nanotechnology.

He spoke about the fear that nanotechnologies can do because they are small enough to enter cells and no one is sure what they do. There is also hopes that because they can so easily infiltrate cells that they could be engineered to do a number of things, however this type of application is very far off.

Montano discussed how nano materials react differently than what you would expect on a bulk scale. Which brings up the question, should we be creating systems that we can't control? The hope of this research is that it will teach us how systems work on this level. Other applications include building new things from the molecular level up.

He spoke to us about atomic force microscopy which is very useful in biology because it can give very distinct pictures of very small objects in liquid, which means that this can be performed on living cells. It works by running a very small needle across a surface multiple times and using the atomic attractive and repulsive forces to record the surface topography. The tip can also be used to move objects out of the way so that they surface underneath can be recorded as well.

He also talked about the drive that motivates him to do science, and about what being a scientist entails, which is a lot of grant writing and project design and proposal once a certain level is achieved.


  1. If most professional scientists spend a majority of time writing grants couldn't this put science back? Wouldn't it be better to have professional grant writers write the grants so that scientists could just do research?
  2. If AFM is done in liquid how can the tip survey the cell without moving it?
  3. How can AFM survey a lysed cell and give any information about what is going on in that moment?