The concept of NanoSphere

NanoSphere employs a systematic approach that builds on prospective technology studies providing emission and exposure scenarios of nanoparticles as a critical input for guiding the prioritisation and selection of nanoparticles for further work.

The scenarios include on the one hand the current generation of nanoparticles, but will also anticipate the next generation of nanoparticles having improved functionalisations. Starting from the identified priority nanoparticles we will synthesize systematic variations of size, shape, composition and functionality, to which matching characterization tools will be applied.

A combination of several biotesting platforms and analytical techniques for the exposure characterization allows us to unravel the impact of the different physico-chemical characteristics on fate and (eco)toxicological effects of nanoparticles. This does not only allow to provide full risk assessments for the selected priority nanoparticles, but also to derive generally applicable structure-activity relationships (SARs).

The implemented biotesting platforms cover fundamental biological structures and processes (especially membrane systems as the principal biological barrier for nanoparticles, but also OMICs and classical (eco)toxicological endpoints), as well as specific studies on skin penetration and toxicology (as the main exposed human organ) and on ecological characteristics such as biodiversity and succession (using microbial communities, which are not only the most exposed entities in aquatic ecosystems, but also seem to be particularly sensitive to nanoparticles).

This combination of test strategies on different levels of biological complexity allows exploring options for integrated risk assessment procedures that cover both human health as well as the environment.

Furthermore, we analyze how the field develops through studies on innovation, industrial adoption and commercialization. While nano-risk is analysed as a truly novel and currently emerging regime, it is still heavily influenced by the various contexts of already existing risk regimes.

Finally, knowledge generation in all these dimensions cannot and should not remain a purely analytical and academic endeavour but needs to be embedded in interaction and learning processes involving a wider set of actors.

Multidisciplinary representation

NanoSphere consists of twelve groups from three faculties at University of Gothenburg and from Chalmers, which guarantees a multidisciplinary representation:

  • nanoscience & nanotechnology,
  • innovation studies,
  • environmental systems analysis,
  • synthesis chemistry,
  • material and chemical analysis,
  • colloid chemistry,
  • environmental chemistry,
  • ecotoxicology,
  • dermatoscience,
  • occupational and environmental medicine,
  • social anthropology and
  • sociology
Page Manager: Robert Karlsson|Last update: 11/17/2014

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