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Biological Sciences Division
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June 2016

Thrall Provides Input into Strategy for Next Era of Nanotechnology

Brian Thrall

Brian Thrall, Technical Group Leader for Exposure Science and Health Impacts group at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, participated in a recent panel on  “human health impacts and responsible development of nanotechnology.” Convened by the National Nanotech Initiative (NNI), the panel included experts in nanoscale science, engineering, and technology. They provided opinions and expertise for the 2016 Strategic Planning Stakeholder Workshop, which will provide input into the next strategic plan for nanotechnology research (NNI 2.0) and the next era of all things one-billionth of a meter in size. (A sheet of copy paper, for example, is 75,000 nanometers thick.)

Nanoscience and technology has had tremendous impacts on everything from electric cars to modern medicine to detecting harmful chemical or biological agents. “PNNL alone has more than a decade of expertise related to human health implications of engineered nanomaterials,” said Thrall. “But with NNI coordinating efforts across multiple agencies, industry, and researchers, the field of study has progressed by leaps and bounds.”

Topics addressed during Thrall’s panel included:

  • Understanding the implications of human health needs
  • Underrepresented areas of knowledge
  • Emerging areas of study
  • How to measure the success of nanotechnology
  • Opportunities for federal government support

NNI is a U.S. research and development initiative involving 20 federal departments and independent agencies. It is overseen by the National Nanotech Coordination Office, which is part of the White House's Office of Science & Technology Policy.

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