Nano Environmental Health and Safety (Nano EHS)
At NIEHS, a unique combination of knowledge and expertise—and a commitment to understanding the role of environmental exposures in human disease—enables a novel approach to the study of nanomaterials and their potential effects on human health, called Nano EHS. The critical research challenges for nanoscale materials—determining dose, assessing biological response, and quantifying exposure and risk—are the same challenges on which the NIEHS has built its reputation.
Recognizing that engineered nanomaterials are quickly enveloping us through products of daily life, such as drugs, cosmetics, electronics, and consumer items ranging from toys to laundry machines, the NIEHS led the U.S. government in exploring this area of research. We are continuing to expand inquiry into this emerging and important field. The outcome of these efforts will guide the design of nanomaterials that are both innovative and safe for commercialization.
The NIEHS has been working to encourage and support research into the underlying properties of engineered nanomaterials (ENM) to determine their potential biocompatibility or toxicity to human health. The NIEHS Centers for Nanotechnology Health Implications Research Consortium is helping to build the foundation of our understanding of how the unique chemical and physical properties that emerge at the nanoscale may affect the interactions between environmental exposures and the body.
The NIEHS, in partnership with the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering and the National Cancer Institute, is supporting the development of a publicly accessible database for engineered nanomaterials called the Nanomaterial Registry.
Sri Nadadur, Ph.D.
Health Scientist Administrator
Tel (919) 541-5327
Fax (919) 541-0462
NIEHS Centers for Nanotechnology Health Implications Research (NCNHIR) Consortium
The NCNHIR Consortium is an interdisciplinary program consisting of U19 and U01 Cooperative Centers, along with other active grantees funded through the Nanotechnology Environmental Health and Safety (Nano EHS) program. To facilitate the coordinated research efforts among the grantees working with a set of defined engineered nanomaterials (ENMs) at their respective labs, the NIEHS also established contractual agreements for nanomaterial characterization to support this consortium. The overarching goals of these efforts are to gain fundamental understanding on how the physical and chemical properties of ENMs influence their interactions with biological systems at the molecular, cellular, and organ levels and to develop computational models to better predict potential health risks associated with ENM exposure. These findings will also guide safe development and use of nanotechnology.
NIEHS Grand Opportunity Grant Program (Nano GO)
The NIEHS Nano GO program supports large-scale research projects that accelerate critical breakthroughs, early and applied research on cutting-edge technologies, and new approaches to improve the synergy and interactions among multi- and interdisciplinary research teams. The major goals of the program, which was supported by American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funds, included developing assays, methods, and models to predict biological response to nanomaterials. As an example of their work, results from a round robin of in vitro and in vivo assays for evaluating initial toxicity response of ENMs were developed and validated across eight different labs and published in Environmental Health Perspectives.