July 27, 2020
Staff Accomplishment

PNNL Researchers Contribute to Special Issue about Nanomaterial Safety

Biomedical scientist Brian Thrall co-edited the issue published in the journal NanoImpact

vials of nanomaterials

Photo: Andrea Starr | PNNL

Brian Thrall, biomedical scientist and manager in the Biological Sciences Division at PNNL, co-edited a virtual special issue in the peer-reviewed journal NanoImpact. Three of the articles in the issue include multiple PNNL authors.

The issue, titled “Nano Safety Research Guided by Nanomaterial-Biological Interactions,” collects recent findings from the ongoing Nanotechnology Health Implications Research consortium, which is funded by the National Institutes of Health National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS).

Engineered nanomaterials are increasingly found in consumer products including electronics, cosmetics, and clothing. Nanocellulose fibers are often the absorbent material in diapers, titanium dioxide nanoparticles are a whitening agent in chewing gum, and zinc oxide nanoparticles in sunscreen scatter sunlight away from skin.

“The aim of the consortium is to help guide safe nanotechnology development by defining the relationships between material properties and biological responses,” Thrall said. To learn more about potential health impacts, researchers are studying how nanomaterials interact with cells on a molecular and functional level.

Papers written by PNNL authors in the special issue include:

  • An editorial opening the issue, written by Thrall and his co-editor, Srikanth Nadadur at NIEHS;
  • A study of how ingested nanocellulose affects the gut microbiome in rats, written by PNNL authors Sneha Couvillion, Kent Bloodsworth, David Hoyt, Lisa Bramer, Tom Metz, and Brian Thrall;
  • A comprehensive profiling of molecular changes to macrophages, a type of immune cell, upon exposure to metal/metal oxide nanoparticles, written by PNNL researchers Tong Zhang, Matthew Gaffrey, Dennis Thomas, Thomas Weber, Becky Hess, Karl Weitz, Paul Piehowski, Vlad Petyuk, Ron Moore, Wei-Jun Qian, and Brian Thrall; and
  • Research exploring changes to protein expression in simulated intestinal lining exposed to food-grade titanium dioxide nanoparticles, authored by Tong Zhang, Matthew Gaffrey, Karl Weitz, Brian Thrall, and Wei-Jun Qian.