I've been teaching at UCSB for over twenty years, with an emphasis on astronomy and introductory physics for life science majors. I also co-authored textbooks for each of these classes (College Physics 8e and Universe 11e) that have been used here and around the world. I do a small amount of research in astrophysics, but more recently have lead a collaboration pursuing a cancer therapy based on magnetic bacteria.
It is an intriguing and unexploited feature of oxygen-avoiding (i.e. anaerobic) bacteria, that (in mice) they accumulate in the lowest-oxygen regions of solid cancer tumors. These low-oxygen regions are also the most treatment-resistant. In pursuing a therapeutic application of this behavior, our group is focussed on magnetotactic bacteria. In mice, these bacteria collect in a tumor and are otherwise cleared from the body. This selectivity might enable targeting that can spare healthy tissue from therapeutic damage. Once in the tumor, the magnetic iron-oxide nanoparticles these bacteria contain present possible mechanisms for killing cancer cells via physics, chemistry, and biology.
Mailing address: Department of Physics Broida Hall University of California Santa Barbara, CA 93106-9530