Nanotechnology Project

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Environment, Health and Safety Research

Health and Safety Impacts of Nanotechnology: Exploring Solutions

Project Information

Principal InvestigatorChen Chunying
Project URLView
Relevance to ImplicationsHigh
Class of NanomaterialEngineered Nanomaterials
Impact SectorHuman Health
Broad Research Categories Hazard
NNI identifier

Funding Information

Anticipated Total Fundingn/a
Annual Fundingn/a
Funding SourceMinistry of Science and Technology, China
Funding MechanismExtramural
Funding SectorGovernment
Start Year2006
Anticipated End Year2011


With the rapid development of nanosciences and nanotechnology, diverse types of manufactured nanomaterials have been currently utilized in thousands consume products to improve their performance of pristine functions, or completely create novel functions, such as industrial products, semiconductors, electronics, stain-resistant clothing, ski wax, catalysts, other commodity products such as food, sunscreens, cosmetics, automobile parts, etc. They will also be increasingly utilized in medicines for purposes of clinic therapy, diagnosis, and drug delivery. However, recent studies on the biological impacts of nanomaterials show signs that some of the nanoparticles exhibit unforeseen toxicity to living organisms, and some nanomaterials may become potentially harmful sources that possibly cause vitally new injury to the human health. Accordingly, how to develop nanotechnology safely? This has already become a big challenge for both scientists and governments worldwide.

China has established the Lab. for Bio-Environmental Health Sciences of Nanoscale Materials, where scientists conduct multidisciplinary study on the biological effects of nanomaterials such as recognization, identification and quantification of hazards resulting from exposure to nanomaterials and the public health aspects of nanoparticles in air, water, other parts of the environment, foods, and nanodrugs, by assimilating knowledge and techniques of nanoscience, toxicology, medicine, life sciences, chemistry and physics, etc. 

The objectives of the project are to meet the national demands of development of the whole nanotechnology, we hence select typical nanomaterials (that have a large-scale production in China) as research objects, and systematically study the interactions of nanoparticles with biological systems from diverse levels including the bio-molecular, cellular, organ, to a whole body levels, in order to (1) reveal the commonness of the their interactions and consequence, (2) develop the predicting model for biological effects of nanomaterials, (3) explore the solution to the nanosafety issues, etc.  

The project mainly aims to understand the following key issues. (1) The ability of nanoparticles breaking through the biological defense systems: Study on the basic law of interactions between nanoparticles and the biological barriers, and to reveal that through what path and how nanoparticles can enter the human body; (2) What the nanoparticles do after entering the human body, i.e., their biological activities in vivo; (3) ADME and toxicity of nanoparticles in vivo; (4) Relationship between the nanotoxicity and nanosized characterizations; (5) Modeling for prediction of biological safety of nanomaterials, etc.