Cancer Imaging Program - Nanodelivery Systems and Devices Branch

NSDB Contact and Staff

Researchers at the Northwestern University Center of Cancer Nanotechnology Excellence (NU-CCNE) are developing gold and silver nanostructures with controlled shapes for use in a wide range of applications including detection, electronics, medicine, and catalysis. This image shows a stack of gold nanocubes with concave surfaces. The concave nanocubes have highly-sloped faces containing large numbers of exposed surface atoms, which are beneficial for catalytic applications, and also have sharp corners which are useful for detection applications.

Credit: National Cancer Institute & Northwestern University

Nanodelivery Systems and Devices Branch
Cancer Imaging Program
National Cancer Institute
Divsion of Cancer Treatment and Dianosis
9609 Medical Center Drive
Bethesda, MD 20892-9725

NCI Press Officers
Phone: (240) 760-6600
Fax: (301) 451-7440

For broad information or to seek help, please visit or call NCI's Cancer Information Services at 1-800-4-CANCER (1-800-422-6237).

NSDB Staff

Piotr Grodzinski, Ph.D.
Branch Chief
NCI Nanodelivery Systems and Devices Branch

Dr. Piotr Grodzinski is Branch Chief of the Nanotechnology for Cancer programs at NSDB. He coordinates program and research activities of the Alliance for Nanotechnology in Cancer which has received dedicated NCI funds (2004–present). These funds have supported the formation of multiple interdisciplinary centers, as well as individual research and training programs, targeting nanotechnology solutions for improved prevention, detection, and treatment of cancer. 

Though a materials scientist by training, Dr. Grodzinski found bio- and nanotechnology fascinating. In the mid-nineties, he left the world of semiconductor research and built a large microfluidics program at Motorola Corporate Research & Development in Arizona. The group made important contributions to the development of integrated microfluidics for genetic sample preparation with its work being featured in Chemical & Engineering News and Nature Reviews.

After his tenure at Motorola, Dr. Grodzinski joined the Bioscience Division of Los Alamos National Laboratory where he served as a Group Leader and an interim Chief Scientist for the Department of Energy's Center for Integrated Nanotechnologies (CINT).

Dr. Grodzinski received his Ph.D. in Materials Science from the University of Southern California, Los Angeles in 1992. He is an inventor on 15 patents and has authored over 100 technical publications and conference presentations. He has been an invited speaker and has served on the committees of numerous bio- and nano-Micro-Electromechanical Systems conferences.

Scott E. McNeil, Ph.D.
Director, Nanotechnology Characterization Laboratory
National Cancer Institute

Dr. McNeil serves as the Director of the Nanotechnology Characterization Laboratory (NCL) for SAIC-Frederick and Frederick National Laboratory for Cancer Research, where he coordinates preclinical characterization of nanotech cancer therapeutics and diagnostics. At the NCL, Dr. McNeil leads a team of scientists responsible for testing candidate nanotech drugs and diagnostics, evaluating safety and efficacy, and assisting with product development – from discovery-level, through scale-up and into clinical trials. NCL has assisted in characterization and evaluation of more than 300 nanotechnology products, several of which are now in human clinical trials. Dr. McNeil is a member of several working groups on nanomedicine, environmental health and safety, and other nanotechnology issues. He is an invited speaker to numerous nanotechnology-related conferences and has several patents pending related to nanotechnology and biotechnology. He is also a Vice President of SAIC-Frederick. 

Prior to establishing the NCL, he served as a Senior Scientist in the Nanotech Initiatives Division at SAIC where he transitioned basic nanotechnology research to government and commercial markets. He advises industry and State and US Governments on the development of nanotechnology and is a member of several governmental and industrial working groups related to nanotechnology policy, standardization and commercialization. Dr. McNeil’s professional career includes tenure as an Army Officer, with tours as Chief of Biochemistry at Tripler Army Medical Center, and as a Combat Arms officer during the Gulf War. He received his bachelor's degree in Chemistry from Portland State University and his Ph.D. in Cell Biology from Oregon Health Sciences University.

Stephanie A. Morris, Ph.D.
Program Director
NCI Nanodelivery Systems and Devices Branch

Dr. Stephanie A. Morris serves as a program director for the NCI Alliance for Nanotechnology in Cancer program in the Nanodelivery Systems and Devices Branch (NSDB). She manages nanotechnology research awards overseen by the program and participates in the development of new research initiatives. She also participates on several NIH and interagency committees and working groups, especially those focused on nanoinformatics. 

Prior to joining NSDB, Dr. Morris performed her postdoctoral work at NCI in the Laboratory of Receptor Biology and Gene Expression, focusing on the genome-wide activity of chromatin remodeling enzymes involved in nuclear receptor function and oncogenesis. She was funded by a UNCF-Merck Postdoctoral Fellowship. In addition to her postdoctoral research, Dr. Morris led the development of a chromatin postdoctoral seminar series. She also served as the Senior Editor of the NIH Fellows Editorial Board. She received her Ph.D. in Biochemistry and Biophysics from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where she studied the function of histone-modifying enzymes during transcription elongation. Before pursuing her graduate studies, Dr. Morris worked at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, where she directed an Analytical Ultracentrifugation Facility in the Laboratory of Macromolecular Analysis and Proteomics, and studied the biophysical properties of protein/nucleic acid conformational changes. She graduated from Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut with a B.A. in Biology, and Neuroscience and Behavior.

Christopher M. Hartshorn, Ph.D.
Program Director
NCI Nanodelivery Systems and Devices Branch

Dr. Christopher M. Hartshorn serves as a program director in NCI's Alliance for Nanotechnology in Cancer program. In this role, he manages the nanotechnology research projects, evaluates the effectiveness of the Alliance programs, and maintains the proper stewardship over federally funded research. He serves as a technical expert to Alliance members, acts as senior editor / author on strategic Alliance documents, and participates in the development and direction of new research initiatives. 

Prior to joining the NSDB, Dr. Hartshorn worked for the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) on the research and development of novel high-speed non-invasive nonlinear optical imaging modalities for tumor histopathology as well as for in situ materials and pharmaceutical characterization. In addition to his research, he co-founded and led the NIST Material Measurement Laboratory Post-doctoral Association and served on the Washington Editorial Review Board. Dr. Hartshorn earned his Ph.D. in Physical Chemistry from Washington State University where his research studies focused on modeling the physical effects of nanomaterials at biological interfaces, development of nanoparticle-DNA oligomer conjugates for the single-molecule measurement of HIV-RT binding kinetics, and was part of a interdisciplinary team developing a multi-antigen biosensor. Prior to his graduate work, he co-authored the collaborative discovery of the modulus-density scaling behaviour and framework architecture for nanoporous silicates. He earned his Bachelor of Science degree's in Chemistry and Biology from the University of New Mexico.

Over his academic and research career, Dr. Hartshorn has co-authored many peer reviewed publications including several in Nature journals within the disciplines of nanomaterials, photonics, and biology as well as co-authoring several funded grants and book chapters. He has been the recipient of two national fellowships, an invited speaker for many conferences, and is a member of Sigma Xi and the American Chemical Society.

Christina Liu, Ph.D., P.E.
Program Director
NCI Nanodelivery Systems and Devices Branch

Dr. Liu serves as a program director for NCI's Office of Cancer Nanotechnology Research. She manages nanotechnology projects and grants, participates in the development of new initiatives, and evaluates the effectiveness of programs within the Alliance for Nanotechnology in Cancer. 

Dr. Liu graduated with a Ph.D from Rice University in Chemical Engineering and subsequently worked in the Petrophysical Interpretation Group in Baker Hughes Oil Service Company in Houston, TX where magnetic resonance data (MRI) was used for oil exploration. While there, she earned her Professional Engineer License in the State of Texas. She later moved to Boston, MA for her postdoctoral training and independent research at Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School with research focusing on drug addiction and stroke using contrast-enhanced functional and molecular MRI.

In 2010, Christina became a Health Scientist Administrator in the Division of Biomedical Technology of National Center for Research Resources (NCRR) where she served as Program Officer for the Shared Instrumentation Programs. Most recently, Dr. Liu was program director within the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB). Christina had joined the Division of Applied Science and Technology at NIBIB in 2012 where she managed MRI/Optical/Ultrasound-based Molecular Imaging Technology and Structural Biology portfolios. She also served as the Coordinator for NIBIB's Biomedical Technology Resource Centers (P41) Program.

Luisa Russell, Ph.D.
CRTA Postdoctoral Fellow
NCI Nanodelivery Systems and Devices Branch

Dr. Luisa Russell serves as a CRTA Postdoctoral Fellow in research and grants management in the Nanodelivery Systems and Devices Branch of the Cancer Imaging Program at NCI. In this role, she leads coordination of the caNanoLab online database for cancer nanomedicine research. She also participates in nanomedicine and nanoinformatics-based NIH and interagency working groups.
Prior to joining the NSDB, Dr. Russell received her Ph.D. in Materials Science and Engineering from Johns Hopkins University in the lab of Dr. Peter Searson in the Institute for NanoBioTechnology (INBT). Her thesis work focused on the push to standardize the way nanomedicines for passive accumulation in solid tumors are characterized, including development of an in vivo protocol for cross-platform benchmarking, and in the development and characterization of a novel CD47 marker-of-self based liposome. She was funded by a T32 NTCR training grant, as well as several smaller fellowships. Dr. Russell graduated from Stanford University with a B.S. in Materials Science and Engineering, during which she conducted research as an undergraduate on electron microscopy techniques for analysis of nanoparticle interactions with biological systems under the guidance of Dr. Robert Sinclair.

  • Posted: August 8, 2017
  • Updated: April 18, 2018