Nanotechnology Project

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Environment, Health and Safety Research

Toxic Substances in the Environment

Project Information

Principal InvestigatorMartyn T Smith
Project URLView
Relevance to ImplicationsSome
Class of NanomaterialGeneric
Impact SectorEnvironment
Broad Research Categories Exposure
NNI identifiera2-8

Funding Information

Anticipated Total Funding$2,142,446.00
Annual Funding$153,031.86
Funding SourceNIH
Funding Mechanism
Funding Sector
Start Year1997
Anticipated End Year2011


The goal of the Superfund Basic Research Program at the University of California, Berkeley is “to improve understanding of the relationship between exposure and disease; provide better human and ecological risk assessments; lower cleanup costs; and develop a range of prevention strategies to improve and protect public health, ecosystems and the environment.” The Program builds on the strengths of UC Berkeley and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in engineering, chemistry and molecular epidemiology, and consists of six interrelated basic and applied research projects. The overall theme of the program is “The application of functional genomics, proteomics, transcriptomics, and nanotechnology to better detect arsenic, mercury, benzene, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, trichloroethylene and other Superfund priority chemicals in the environment; evaluate their effects on human health, especially the health of susceptible populations such as children; and remediate their presence and reduce their toxicity. Themes of the individual projects include using proteomics and transcriptomics to study the role of chemical exposure in causing childhood leukemia; taking a functional genomic approach to finding susceptibility genes; applying novel biomarkers to study the health effects of arsenic; improving bioremediation of toxic chemicals through the application of -omic technologies and nanotechnology, and developing nano-scale sensors of chemical species in the environment. A toxicogenomic laboratory core and a computational biology core will assist researchers in creating tools for use in epidemiological and risk research. The new research translation core will facilitate intensive discussions between investigators and government audiences, and generate new initiatives to increase understanding of the significance and applicability of emerging areas of research to public health protection through policy, interventions, and individual actions. The training core will prepare graduate and post-doctoral students to conduct multidisciplinary research into the effects of environmental factors on health, and to develop technological solutions to prevent or mitigate the harm resulting from Superfund priority chemicals. MULTIDISCIPLINARY and INTERDISCIPLINARY NATURE OF PROGRAM