Dr. Matthew Casey is an assistant technology analyst working in Dallas, Texas. He works in the Office for Technology Development in the Medical Center. His job is to look at the research being done by University researchers and faculty and help determine if it can be patented so that it can be licensed to companies who can help develop it and turn it into a useful product.
What applications does your work have?
The work that comes through our office might be turned into drugs, medical devices, and more that can improve health and save lives for all sorts of different people.
What's the coolest thing you've learned about?
Dissolving gold bars in acid in order to turn them into nanoparticles! Gold nanoparticles are very versatile, and one of the coolest materials I know. They can be used to target drugs to cancer cells, target drug-resistant bacteria, catalyze chemical reactions, act as conductors to carry electricity, and much more!
What's your favorite STEM fact?
When I was doing outreach at elementary schools, my favorite thing to talk about was always the Leidenfrost effect - things that have a very low boiling point, like liquid nitrogen, evaporate so fast that a protective layer of gas forms between the liquid droplets and the surface you pour it on. This causes the droplets to dance around if you pour some on a hard floor, and also means you can (but shouldn't!) pour it over your hand without hurting yourself, even though it's so cold!
What do you wish people knew about your field?
Working in a lab is fun, but science is so much more than that. It's about learning, questioning, and seeking answers. Anyone can be a scientist!
I'd also like to say that often I hear people think that patents are just about making money. This is not the case! While it is important that inventors have the opportunity to be compensated for their ideas, many inventors never look to make money - they just want to create useful things and to help people. Patents allow inventors to make sure that their ideas stay in the right hands, and to control how they are used - we often make licenses based on patents that do not make any money, but still allow ideas to be used while maintaining some control, and most importantly protecting everyone from any potential issues that come up later!
Thanks for working to share University technologies! If you’d like to nominate a STEM friend (or yourself), fill out the AweSTEM people form. You’ll also receive jewelry from Circuit Breaker Labs.