To advance Nano Environmental Health and Safety research, or Nano EHS, NIEHS supports a team science approach. This enables researchers to share data and knowledge, refine research questions and methods, and validate results between labs. This collaborative approach allows researchers to accomplish much more than they could by working on their own.
NIEHS Centers for Nanotechnology Health Implications Research (NCNHIR) Consortium
The NCNHIR Consortium was formed to investigate the correlation between biological endpoints and the chemical and physical properties of engineered nanomaterials (ENMs) to allow hazard characterization of these materials. From 2010 to 2016, this interdisciplinary program included cooperative centers, individual grantees, and contractual agreements that facilitated characterization efforts among grantees who each worked with a set of defined ENMs at their respective labs.
- Evaluated the toxicity of 30 ENMs, including metals and metal oxides, with varying size, shape, and surface charge.
- Studied ways in which ENMs are broken down and the effects of differences in these processes.
- Produced comprehensive biological response profiles of silver nanoparticles with varied size and surface coatings and multiwalled carbon nanotubes with three different aspect ratios.
- Studied multiple routes of exposure, including inhalation, oral, and intravenous.
- Revealed characteristics of particle absorption, distribution, metabolism, and excretion, as well as toxicokinetics.
- Evaluated the role of genetic and disease susceptibility.
- Developed in vitro sedimentation, dissolution, dispersion, and dosimetry modeling for silver ENMs.
NIEHS Nano Grand Opportunity Grant Program (Nano GO)
The NIEHS Nano GO program supported large-scale research projects that accelerated 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.
Through this program, which was supported from 2009 to 2013 by American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds, grantees developed new assays, methods, and models to predict biological response to nanomaterials. One important outcome from the Nano GO program was the development and validation of a round robin of in vitro and in vivo assays for evaluating initial toxicity response of ENMs. This work was published in Environmental Health Perspectives.
NIEHS Nano EHS Small Business Innovative Research Grant (SBIR) Program
NIEHS SBIR grants intend to stimulate the development of innovative and commercially viable products or technologies to better characterize exposure to ENMs and to expand the capability of screening ENMs for effects in biological systems. Towards these efforts in 2018, the NIEHS SBIR through a specific funding announcement, RFA-ES-18-008, supported multiple grants to develop novel approaches for characterizing exposure and response to engineered nanomaterials.