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Biology, Toxicology and Health

A Systems Approach to Nanotoxicology

Biocompatible design of nanomaterials requires unprecedented levels of collaboration between scientists of multiple disciplines. Traditional fields associated with safety assessment—toxicology, pathology, biology, pharmacokinetics and biochemistry—must work closely with material science, modeling and others to ensure nanomaterial toxicity and biocompatibility studies produce conclusive, interpretable data for risk assessment.


Nanotoxicology Programs

  • NIEHS Center for Nanotoxicology. In 2010, the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) established the multidisciplinary Center for Nanotoxicology at PNNL. The Center houses research projects that will lead to quantitative understanding of how engineered nanomaterial properties interact with biological systems. The goal is to ultimately understand the role of nanomaterials in tissue disposition, physiological responses and risk of initiating or promoting disease.
    Program Director: Dr. Joel G. Pounds.
  • Battelle Institute for Fundamental and Systems Toxicology. PNNL is a partner in the multi-institutional Battelle Institute for Fundamental and Systems Toxicology. This program includes collaborative research by PNNL, Battelle, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Brookhaven National Laboratory and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory focused on applying modern systems toxicology approaches to identify preclinical markers of adverse biological responses to emerging pharmaceutical agents, including nanomaterials. The goal is to identify early and predictive markers of potential toxicity pathways to advance safe nanotechnology and pharmaceutical development.
    PNNL Technical Lead: Dr. Brian Thrall.


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