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Materials Science at Oregon State University

Integrative Nanotoxicology: Linking Rapid Assays and Informatics to Predict Nanomaterial –Biological Interactions

Date: Thursday, Feb 13th
Presenter: Prof. Stacey Harper, OSU Environmental and Molecular Toxicology Department


Dr. Harper’s laboratory investigates the environmental health and safety impacts of nanotechnology in order to support the responsible development of this rapidly growing industry. Concerns about nanotechnology have been raised due to the current lack of hazard information, the sheer diversity of nanomaterials, and the very real potential for widespread exposures as nanomaterial use and applications continue to emerge. Thus, studies in her research laboratory at OSU employ 1) rapid assays to quickly determine the toxic potential of nanomaterials, 2) investigative tools to evaluate nanomaterial physicochemical properties, and 3) informatics to identify the specific features of a nanomaterial that govern its environmental behavior and biological interactions.

This talk will address the challenges of capturing metrics of biological response from rapid-throughput systems and distilling response data down to statistically and biologically meaningful parameters. Her research utilizes an integrative approach to strategically target structure-activity relationships by leveraging nanomaterial physicochemical characterization and toxicity data using informatics. She will discuss the challenges in identifying the inherent nanomaterial properties that govern nanomaterial-biological interactions and defining key drivers for nanomaterial toxicity. She will also highlight some of the success stories that have resulted from community driven standardization efforts.