National Medal of Science recipient Mostafa A. El-Sayed, whose nanotechnology research has led to new ways of treating cancer, will speak at UCF on Friday, Sept. 5, about his current projects.

El-Sayed, director of Georgia Tech’s Laser Dynamics Laboratory, will speak at 3 p.m. at CREOL Room 102 about “Nanotechnology Meets Biology in the Cancer Cell.” He is working on using the optical and photothermal properties of gold and silver in detecting and treating cancer cells.

He earned his B.S. at Ein Shams University in Cairo and his Ph.D. in chemistry at FSU. He was a faculty member at UCLA more than 30 years before joining Georgia Tech’s faculty in 1994.

El-Sayed began thinking about the applications of nanotechnology for cancer research in 2005 after his wife died from the disease. He developed a treatment for skin cancer using gold nanorods, which bind to cancer cells and scatter light, making the cells easier to find and kill with lasers. El-Sayed’s son, a professor at the University of California, San Francisco, is testing the treatment on humans.

The researcher was presented the National Medal of Science at the White House in 2007 for contributions to understanding the electronic and optical properties of nanomaterials and to their applications in medicine, his humanitarian efforts in promoting the exchange of ideas, and his role in developing the scientific leadership of tomorrow. He was the first Arab-American to receive the award.

A reception for El-Sayed will be held at 4 p.m. after the seminar.