TTU’s Kamal earns NIH/NSF fellowships encouraging biomanufacturing

Posted by Karen Lykins - Wednesday, September 22 2010
klykins@tntech.edu
Office of Communications & Marketing

Untitled Document thumb_kamal_lab1In his role as a manufacturing and industrial technology educator, Tennessee Tech University's Ahmed Kamal recently was invited to participate in two high profile events sponsored by the National Institute of Health and the National Science Foundation.

The first fellowship Kamal earned placed him at a workshop focusing on the informatics for data and resource discovery in addiction research held at NIH's Neuroscience Center in Rockville, Md.

At first glimpse, neuroscience and manufacturing technology seem to be relatively unrelated, but Kamal says the need for biomanufacturing and biomedical applications are increasing and his field is responding to the latest trends.

He participated in discussions about how important it is that the genetic components of addiction be identified and how researchers can better communicate results. Once that happens, diagnostic tools can be developed and manufactured.

"The data that currently exists about the genes that predispose a person to alcohol, drug or other addictions is scattered and too expensive to piecemeal," explained Kamal. "The researchers are working to develop one database through NIH to prevent duplication of research and reduce the costs involved.

"Our goal is the prevention of addiction," he continued. "So with the ability to assess the autonomic nervous system of a person with chronic alcoholism, we could possibly quantify the degree of addiction in the body."

Kamal says one anticipated result of these efforts could be using nanoscale technology to produce intelligent diagnostic sensors tailored each patient.

The second fellowship, awarded by Maricopa Advance Technology Education Center and NSF, led Kamal to dual events: the Critical Issues and Best Practices Forum and the High Impact Technology Exchange Conference held in Orlando, Fla., in late July.

Here he discussed the preparation needed by the existing and future workforce for companies in high technology sectors that drive our nation's economy. The goals included identifying critical technology and workforce related issues, identifying and ranking the most critical challenges faced by technology educators and featuring best-known methods to respond to challenges.

"Motivation in the classroom results in better retention," he said. "We are working on exciting students with new technology and new frontiers.

"The process of encouraging our students' imagination and creativity is interactive and enhances stimulating interaction in the classroom," said Kamal. "With new topics like nanoscale manufacturing, we hope to engage students even at the undergraduate level to think in terms of research possibilities."