Kane Named P.K. Lashmet Professor at Rensselaer
Nanobiotechnology expert Ravi Kane has been named the P.K.
Lashmet Professor at Rensselaer.
“Professor Kane is an innovator, a gifted mentor to young
researchers, a world leader in his field, and he continues to
chart new territory at the increasingly important intersection
of nanotechnology and biology,” said Timothy Wei, acting dean
of Rensselaer’s School of Engineering. “This new chaired
professorship is well deserved. We’re confident of Ravi’s
future success, and look forward to seeing his next big
Since joining the Rensselaer faculty in 2001, Kane has won
several high-profile awards and published many high-impact
In August, he received the 2008 Young Investigator Award
from the American Institute of Chemical Engineers’ Nanoscale
Science and Engineering Forum. In 2004, the Massachusetts
Institute of Technology’s Technology Review named Kane
as among the TR 100, a list of the world’s top 100 young
innovators. He was recently named the 2008 Dr. G. P. Kane
Visiting Professor in Chemical Engineering at the University
Institute of Chemical Technology, in Bombay, India. Kane also
won a Rensselaer Early Career Award in 2006.
Kane’s research focuses on the interface of nanotechnology
and biotechnology, in attempt to identify new ways of
transforming a fundamental molecular-level understanding of
nanoscopic and biological systems to develop new advanced
materials that can play an important role in tackling important
global challenges related to health and medicine.
In a recent publication in Nature Nanotechnology,
Kane’s team demonstrated for the first time that upon exposure
to visible and near-infrared light, carbon nanotubes mediate
the selective deactivation of attached proteins. Kane’s group
used this phenomenon to design nanotube-peptide conjugates that
selectively destroy anthrax toxin from a mixture of proteins.
The group also used these findings to develop and create
transparent “self-cleaning” nanotube coatings.
Kane’s other ongoing projects involve developing potent
inhibitors of anthrax toxin, and designing new methods to
prevent viruses such as HIV-1 and influenza from infecting
other cells. Funding for Kane’s efforts to design toxin
inhibitors was recently renewed by a $2.7 million grant from
the U.S. National Institutes of Health. His group is developing
methods to control cellular microenvironments in order to
influence stem cell proliferation and differentiation for
applications in tissue engineering. They are also investigating
novel microfluidic strategies for the separation of DNA, as
well as DNA transport on surfaces.
Kane joined Rensselaer in 2001 and was named a full
professor in 2007. He received his bachelor’s degree from
Stanford University, earned his master’s degree and doctorate
in chemical engineering from MIT, and was a postdoctoral
researcher at Harvard University.
Announced earlier this year, the P.K. Lashmet Career
Development Professorship was made possible by an anonymous
$1.5 million give to Rensselaer. Named for a retired chemical
and environmental engineering professor who still resides in
the Troy area, the endowment honors the quality of Lashmet’s
teaching and Rensselaer’s commitment to excellence in education
Lashmet began his Rensselaer career as a young professor in
1966 during a time of re-invigoration of the undergraduate
engineering curriculum. He was later appointed executive
officer and associate chair of chemical and environmental
engineering and served in that capacity until his retirement in
1991. According to the donor, who wishes to remain anonymous,
Lashmet memorably put great effort into his role as a mentor
Contact: Michael Mullaney
Phone: (518) 276-6161