This research addresses critical issues in the development of methods to quantify and characterize nanoparticles in the environment and to test for their toxic effects. One of the foremost challenges in environmental nanotechnology is a lack of methods for determining concentrations of these materials in environmentally relevant media. Additionally, there is no consensus on the methods that should be used to assess the risks of these materials to organisms. It is unclear to what extent current standard methods are satisfactory for assessing their ecotoxicological risks, yet such approaches are urgently needed to determine the potential toxic effects of nanomaterials after their release into environmental systems.
Projects that we are interested in investigating include, but are not limited to, (1) applications of analytical methods and experimental approaches that enable analyses of the environmental fate, surface characteristics, quantification, aggregation, and transformations of nanoparticles in environmentally relevant biotic or abiotic media; and (2) method development for assessing the ecological risks of these materials through the application of new or uncommon toxicology techniques to nanoecotoxicology, identification of important potential artifacts or measurement considerations in nanoecotoxicology, or investigations of the extent to which previous standard methods can be applied to studies with nanoparticles.
Since this research is highly interdisciplinary, we are seeking applicants from many diverse fields including chemistry, materials science, electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, biomedical engineering, chemical engineering, physics, and biology.