Nanoparticle Human Health Effects: Continuing To Link Material Characteristics to Biological Responses

Friday, October 14, 2011

12:00 pm to 1:00 pm
1441 CIEMAS/Fitzpatrick Center


Christie Sayes

Christie Sayes
Program Manager
Research Triangle Institute, RTI
Nanotoxicology & Nanopharmacology

Abstract: Nanotechnology is most commonly driven by the increasing importance of very small particles in a variety of applications. These applications mainly reside in technologies stemming from the electronic or optical sensing approaches. With the advent of surface functionalization on very small particulates, however, resulted in the birth of nanomedicine and nanotoxicology. A particle with a diameter less than 50 nm is also an important and powerful property for living systems. Our research continues to investigate the interface between the hydrophobic nature of inorganic nanostructures and the hydrophilic nature of biology. As part of the research on the potential biological applications, we also study the unintended environmental implications of engineered nanomaterials. Particles are carefully selected in groups of similar physicochemical properties, characterized as they transform over time, and exposed to mammalian and bacterial cellular systems. Properties such as particle size, surface charge, and chemical composition are related to specific pathway-specific biological responses such as apoptotic, oxidative stress, or other immune or inflammatory events. In some cases, the models (mathematical and experimental) used for larger colloidal particles can be applied to particles in the nanometer size regime; while in other situations, entirely new phenomena present themselves. Here, we adopt a mathematical modeling approach that uses the physicochemical properties of engineered nanomaterials characterized as dry nanopowders and the nanomaterial behavior after suspended in the aqueous phase to predict nanomaterial-induced pathway-specific toxicities. Results of these studies provide insights on how engineered nanomaterial features influence cellular responses and thereby outline possible approaches for developing and applying predictive models for biological responses caused by exposure to nanomaterials.