Nanotechnology Project

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Environment, Health and Safety Research

Nanotox: Gene Expression Profiling of Single-Walled Carbon Nanotubes: A Unique Safety Assessment Approach

Project Information

Principal InvestigatorMary Jane Cunningham
InstitutionHouston Advanced Research Center
Project URLView
Relevance to ImplicationsHigh
Class of NanomaterialEngineered Nanomaterials
Impact SectorHuman Health
Broad Research Categories Hazard
Risk Assessment
NNI identifier

Funding Information

Anticipated Total Funding$300,000.00
Annual Funding$150,000.00
Funding SourceNSF
Funding MechanismExtramural
Funding SectorGovernment
Start Year2005
Anticipated End Year2007


There is increasing concern about potential adverse effects of engineered nanoparticles (NP) on the environment and on human health. Engineered nanomaterials will be exposed to human cells in vitro and their toxicity will be assessed using the innovative technology of high throughput gene expression microarrays. There are four main objectives: a) to compile reproducible gene expression profiles of primary human lung cells exposed to single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWNT), b) to apply different tiers of computational analysis to determine if toxicity is present, c) to compare across biological tissues with previous data from human skin cells (obtained with NSF SGER award) and d) to lay the foundation for a “systems biology” approach for predictive toxicity by merging traditional risk assessment methods with new toxicogenomics computational methods.