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Professor Publishes Paper on New Chemical Syntheses Which Could Improve Treatment for Cancer

December 5, 2013

An Iowa Lakes Community College Associate Professor of Chemistry and Biology has published a paper that outlines new chemical syntheses which could be utilized to produce new anti-cancer agents.

Mark Zabawa joined with six others in this study which was published in early October.

The document deals with PEGylated gold nanoparticles (AuNPs) which the study identifies as a possible mechanism to enhance the delivery of Boron to tumor cells for boron neutron capture therapy (BNCT). PEGylation prevents rapid clearance of a drug, thereby increasing the drug’s lifetime.

“The publication of this work developed new chemical syntheses so in the future, these molecules could have a lot of potential in material science and nanomedicine,” said Zabawa.

This isn’t the first time he’s been published. Since Zabawa started working for Iowa Lakes, he used two summers to work at Northern Illinois University researching BNCT to treat patients suffering from malignant brain tumors known as Glioblastoma.

The new study is a continued collaboration of that initial work (at Northern Illinois University) and includes other scientists from the University of Bordeaux (France) and the Science and Technology on Surface Physics and Chemistry Laboratory in China.

“As more and more scientists use these syntheses in their own work, we’ll see the full potential of it,” Zabawa added.

Zabawa’s credentials include a Bachelor of Science degree from John Hopkins University; a Master’s degree in Science from Northern Illinois University; and a Master of Arts degree in Pharmacology from John Hopkins School of Medicine.

He is active in the Iowa Lakes STEM program which is a group of science professors who meet monthly to advocate on behalf of encouraging young people to pursue careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. He is also on the Governor’s Northwest Iowa STEM board which oversees the delivery of grants to support schools, groups, clubs etc. to give young people hands-on STEM education.

As for the future, Zabawa still enjoys teaching chemistry and biology to college students at the Emmetsburg campus of Iowa Lakes. As for his summers, he plans to keep his eyes open about other opportunities and grants which could continue to impact new cancer therapies.

Mark Zabawa, Associate Professor of Chemistry and Biology, explains to Miranda Vlasman, a student in his College Chemistry I class, how electrons move between atomic orbitals when lithium chloride is exposed to a flame.
Mark Zabawa, Associate Professor of Chemistry and Biology, explains to Miranda Vlasman, a student in his College Chemistry I class, how electrons move between atomic orbitals when lithium chloride is exposed to a flame.

For More Information:

Associate Professor Mark Zabawa at 712-852-5248

Questions or comments? Please email us at info@iowalakes.edu or call 712-362-2604 or 800-521-5054.
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