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About William L. Hughes

Dr. Will Hughes, an expert in nanoscience and medical applications of DNA nanotechnology, joined the faculty of the Department of Materials Science & Engineering at Boise State University in 2008, and the Mountain States Tumor & Medical Research Institute at St. Luke's Regional Medical Center in Boise in 2010. Before coming to Boise, he was an assistant professor of materials engineering at the California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, and a Center for the Advancement of Scholarship on Engineering Education post-doctoral fellow at the National Academy of Engineering in Washington, D.C. Dr. Hughes earned his Ph.D. at the Georgia Institute of Technology, and his B.S. from the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.
With grants from the W.M. Keck Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, Dr. Hughes and his colleagues pursue DNA’s potential as an engineering material for building structural scaffolds for nanoelectronic devices and biochemical tools for diagnosing disease. He leads an interdisciplinary team of professors in chemistry, biology and engineering at Boise State as well as collaborators at the Boise Veterans Affairs Medical Center, St. Luke’s Mountain States Tumor and Medical Research Institute (MSTMRI), Idaho IDeA Network of Biomedical Research Excellence and The Wistar Institute in Philadelphia. Dr. Hughes was instrumental in the development and evolution of the Nanoscale Materials and Device Group at Boise State, where students are provided the opportunity to develop their professional and technical skills while participating in cutting edge research.
Dr. Hughes has found innovative ways for Materials Science students to impact their communities through Service-Learning projects including work with a homeless shelter, a botanical garden and farm, a children's recreation center, a science museum, and a zoo.


2010 - Present Affiliate Faculty & Research Council Member, St. Luke's Regional Medical Center ‐ Mountain States Tumor & Medical Research Institute
2008 - Present Associate Professor, Boise State University Department of Materials Science and Engineering

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Honors and Awards

  • 2011 - W.M. Keck Foundation, PI for "Synthetic DNA Reactions for Low-Cost Diagnosis and Treatment of Disease" $1,000,000
  • 2011 - NIH Quantitative Research Development K25 Career Award
  • 2011 - Golden Apple Award, Associated Students of Boise State University
  • 2008 - California Polytechnic State University, President’s Community Service Award


  • ENGR 245: Introduction to Materials Science and Engineering
  • MSE/ME/BIO 477/577: Biomaterials
  • MSE/ME/ECE 497/597: Advanced Topics in Nanotechnology
  • MSE 501: Survey of Materials Science & Engineering

Contact Information


Articles (16)

Conference Proceedings (9)