This year’s Best Student Paper Award in the Microfluidics, BioMEMS, and Medical Microsystems section of SPIE Photonics West (BIOS) was presented to Iowa State graduate students and faculty for their presentation, “Transfer molding processes for nanoscale patterning of poly-L-lactic acid (PLLA) films.” This is a collaborative project being performed in ECpE and the Microelectronics Research Center (MRC) by Rabin Dhakal, Akshit Peer, Rana Biswas and Jaeyoun Kim. The team’s presentation was selected out of 48 total oral and poster presentations in the conference held Feb. 13-18 in San Francisco. The goal of the team’s project is to find novel bio-medical applications of periodically patterned polymeric nano-structures. The group investigated how the surfaces of cardiac stents made of bio-degradable poly-L-lactic acid (PLLA) can be engineered to control and slow down the release of certain drugs, such as anti-coagulant, coated on them. They developed a soft lithographic method for imprinting intricate periodic nano-patterns onto these stents and demonstrated that large area arrays of nano-cones or nano-cups with pitch of ~700 nm could be effectively nano-imprinted onto the bio-degradable polymer films. The team is currently studying the release dynamics of drugs coated on these patterned surfaces of PLLA- an area that has much promise for applications to treatment of cardiac disease. Faculty members, Biswas and Kim said they were grateful for the opportunity and glad to have been recognized for their work. For more information about the SPIE conference and awards, click here.