Nanotechnology Project

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Environment, Health and Safety Research

Effect of a nanostructure's size and and shape on uptake, degradation, & clearance in primary macrophages

Project Information

Principal InvestigatorWarren Chan
InstitutionUniversity of Toronto
Project URLView
Relevance to ImplicationsHigh
Class of NanomaterialEngineered Nanomaterials
Impact SectorHuman Health
Broad Research Categories Hazard
NNI identifier

Funding Information

Anticipated Total Funding$86,883.00
Annual Funding$43,441.50
Funding SourceNSERC
Funding MechanismExtramural
Funding SectorGovernment
Start Year2005
Anticipated End Year2007


This research proposal is of major importance to the field of nanotechnology. Nanotechnology research will provide a large set of new materials that will be commonly used in basic and applied research. Currently, the environmental impact of nanotechnology has not been well characterized and because of this, potential harmful effects of nanotechnology could lead to the development of this exciting research field. We are focused on elucidating the biodistribution and toxicity of semiconductor quantum dots. Quantum dots are currently used in many engineering and biomedical applications such as a contrast agent for in vivo cancer imaging and cell labeling, component in light-emitting diodes, and emitters in in vitro diagnostic kits. Studies have shown nanostructures, such as quantum dots, are small enough to enter vital organs and alter biological function. Furthermore, the degradation of nanostructures in vivo could lead to toxicity to due heavy metal exposure (Cd and Ag). Recently, we have discovered that the inorganic nanostructures are mainly trapped in the liver after in vivo administration and are trapped in cells called macrophages. In this proposal, we will synthesize 5-different sizes and 3-different shapes of nanostructures and systematically evaluate their fate, metabolism, and clearance in macrophages.