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Five questions to NanoSphere researcher Caroline Jonsson..

News: May 10, 2013

..who will give her popular science lecture "The fate and adventures of nanoparticles in the environment " in the University of Gothenburg’s series "An academic quarter" on May 16th at the bookstore Bokia Avenyn in Gothenburg.

What is your research about?
- My research is on nanoparticles and how they affect the environment. The development of products containing nanoparticles is progressing rapidly but research on the effects of nanoparticles on the environment and on human health is lacking. More specifically, I study how nanoparticles behave in different aquatic environments. The goal is to develop data and models that can be used to make improved risk assessments of nanoparticles.

How do nanoparticles affect us in our everyday life?
- So far, we don’t have that many answers but we know that nanoparticles are generally very surface active and have a major impact on other molecules. The question is whether they retain their special properties when they encounter other substances, or if they change so that they aren’t so small anymore. Nanoparticles are found in many products and what happens when we, for example, wash away makeup and the particles are flushed out with the waste water and reach natural waters? The effects of using nanoparticles might be delayed.

What do you want the audience to bring with them when they come from your lecture?
- I want them to know a bit more about what nanoparticles are and what research questions scientists are working on. If the public has a better knowledge of nanoparticles, it is easier for them to follow the development and debate about the advantages and risks of nanomaterials in our society.

What's the most interesting thing about your research?
- Research on nanoparticles and their potential effects on the environment and health is a hot topic, since it affects us all. It's about providing information that can be used to ensure that we can live safely and securely in our society. These are difficult questions, but that is also what makes it so important and interesting to work with.

In the future, what are the most exciting things about your research?
- We do not know enough about what happens when manufactured nanoparticles are released into the environment or into our bodies. Above all, we do not know what will happen in the long term. One of the ultimate goals of my research is to find an explanation so that we can assess if a nanoparticle is toxic or not. By trying to get an overview, we can draw conclusions about groups of particles rather than individual particles. Only then, it is possible to set limits on the levels of various nanoparticles present in wastewater, for example. It will be very interesting to follow this and to have the opportunity to influence the development through my work.

The lecture will be held in Swedish.

Contact information:
Caroline Jonsson, Assistant Professor, +46 31 786 9066, caroline.jonsson@chem.gu.se

BY: Robert Karlsson. Photo: Malin Arnesson

Page Manager: Robert Karlsson|Last update: 11/17/2014
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