Environmental Health and Safety of Engineered Materials: Challenges and State of the Art

When: Friday, December 02, 2011 at 12:00 pm
Where: CSC 318
Speaker: Dr. Philip Demokritou
Organization: Assistant Professor of Aerosol Physics, Department of Environmental Health, Harvard School of Public Health
Sponsor: IGERT

The rapid expansion of nanotechnology is a powerful scientific and economic force. Currently, Engineered Nanomaterials are integral to an increasing array of products, from sunscreen and cancer drugs to batteries and semiconductors. However, the rapid expansion of this technology raises safety concerns, and calls for a better understanding of how nanomaterials affect biological and environmental systems. Specifically, we need to learn more about the bio-nano interactions at cellular/molecular, organismal and environmental levels. Since nanoparticles often display unexpected biological properties, we need to discover new toxicologic principles to understand their potential risks. This seminar will try to address the important question: How do we balance the potential of nanotechnology with the potential hazards from new and often inadequately characterized materials? An overview of the challenges and where we stand in terms of the environmental health and safety of engineered nanomaterials will be presented. Research case studies will also be presented emphasizing the importance for proper toxicological evaluation of engineered nanomaterials.