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MU Researcher Recognized for Contributions to Nanomedicine

Kattesh Katti named the 2015 Hevesy Medal Award Winner

January 20th, 2015

Story Contact: Jeff Sossamon, 573-882-3346,

COLUMBIA, Mo. – Gold nanoparticles have been proven useful in a number of medical applications.  Scientists are developing nanoparticles to produce pharmaceuticals used in the imaging and diagnosis of diseases such as cancer, arthritis, Parkinson’s disease and eye degeneration. However, problems occur in the development of these nanoparticles as toxic chemicals are sometimes released during the manufacturing process. For decades, and with funding from the National Institutes of Health, Kattesh Katti, a researcher at the University of Missouri, has been advancing the development of nano-scale molecules, including gold nanoparticles, and has been instrumental in developing environmentally friendly ways of producing these particles using “green” technologies.

For outstanding achievements in radioanalytical and nuclear chemistry, Katti has been named the 2015 Hevesy Medal Award winner. The international award of excellence is named for Nobel Prize Winner George de Hevesy (1885-1966), recognizing his work on the use of isotopes as tracers in the study of chemical processes. The award is given annually to an individual in recognition of excellence through sustained career achievements in the fields of applied nuclear chemistry and radiochemistry.

“I am excited to receive this highly coveted international prize as this truly reflects the outstanding quality of scientific research being done in my laboratories, my department, and our medical school at the University of Missouri,” Katti said. “This successful journey, to join the illustrious list of former awardees, wouldn’t have been a reality without the painstaking efforts of my former and current students, postdoctoral fellows and scores of faculty and scientist collaborators. This award is the culmination of my success in several different areas of nuclear sciences and medicine including radiopharmaceutical sciences, nanomedicine using radioactive gold nanoparticles, bioconjugation chemistry, transition metal and radiometal chemistries, green nanotechnology and nuclear chemistry for the remediation of radioactive waste. I thank my administration for their continued logistical support and unconditional academic freedom. I thank my wife Kavita, our children and my parents for their constant support.”

Katti, Curators Professor of Radiology and Physics in the School of Medicine and the College of Arts and Science and senior research scientist at the University of Missouri Research Reactor (MURR), pioneered the development of several nanomedicine tools. Cancer specialists treating prostate cancer with gold nanoparticles, for instance, often were limited to using high doses of toxic chemotherapy. Katti and other researchers at MU found a more efficient way of targeting prostate tumors by using gold nanoparticles and a compound found in tea leaves.

“The Hevesy Medal is international recognition to Kattesh and his fundamental scientific contributions,” said Wynn A. Volkert, director of the Radiopharmaceutical Sciences Institute and professor emeritus of radiology, biochemistry and chemistry at MU. “He created new knowledge with applications in nuclear medicine, nanomedicine and radiopharmaceutical sciences, and his discovery of radioactive gold nanoparticles is already creating the potential for new therapeutic applications in oncology.”

Katti holds a doctorate in inorganic chemistry from the Indian Institute of Science. He was selected as “One of 25 Most Influential Scientists in Molecular Imaging in the World” by rt Image in recognition of his pioneering work on the utility of gold nanoparticles in imaging and therapy. Katti recently was inducted in the National Academy of Inventors, is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and is a Fellow of the St. Louis Academy of Science.  Nobel Laureate Norman Borlaug cited Katti as the “Father of Green Nanotechnology” in recognition of his groundbreaking green nanotechnology invention of producing gold nanoparticles by a simple mixing of soybeans with gold salt.

“The 2015 Hevesy Medal Award is a fitting tribute to Kattesh for his more than 30 years of sustained groundbreaking research, original discoveries and highly cited scientific contributions encompassing the fields of nuclear chemistry, radiopharmaceutical sciences and nanomedicine,” said Sanjiv Sam Gambhir, the Virginia and D. K. Ludwig Professor of Cancer Research, and chair of the Department of Radiology at Stanford University School of Medicine. “He is highly deserving of this prestigious award for his contributions toward the development of nuclear waste remediation technologies, discovery of radioactive gold nanoparticles in molecular imaging and therapy, and for his plethora of allied nuclear sciences contributions.”

Katti will receive the award at a formal ceremony at the Fourteenth International Conference on Modern Trends in Activation Analysis (MTAA-14) to be held at the Delft University of Technology, The Netherlands, in August 2015.