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    International Assessment of Research Needs for
Nanotechnology Environment, Health and Safety Research

Workshop 2: Towards Predicting Nano-Bio Interactions

5-7 June 2007

Swiss Reinsurance Company, Centre for Global Dialogue (Ruschlikon)

Zurich, Switzerland


Informational Flyer - Workshop 2

List of background documents: used to prepare for workshop

 Workshop 1 Information


Workshop 2 Purpose:
This invitation only workshop was the second of two international workshops designed to engage an international, multidisciplinary group of experts in the development of a framework for understanding the interactions between engineered nanoparticles and biological systems at the molecular level. The ultimate goal was to enable the design of biocompatible nanomaterials using a framework that allows for the prediction of biological interactions from information about the engineered nanoparticles’ properties.

The workshop has produced a document with recommendations on research strategies for developing models to predict effects – adverse or desirable - of engineered nanoparticles upon interaction with biological systems. The strategies identified short-, medium- and long-term research objectives with achievable milestones and a timeline for their accomplishment. The broader impacts expected for this workshop were to:  

  • Energize and focus the international research community
  • Identify strategic priorities to funding agencies
  • Inform industrial and governmental policy decisions that promote sustainable nanotechnology
  • Build bridges amongst disparate scientific disciplines and diverse stakeholders.

The workshop format included substantial time for smaller group interactions during breakout sessions that focused on discussion topics such as:

  • Unique interactions between engineered nanoparticles and biological systems
  • Mechanisms of nano-biological interactions including oxidative stress, protein misfolding, inflammation and immune response, apoptosis and necrosis, genotoxicity and mutagenicity, and developmental effects
  • Interactions of engineered nanoparticles at cell-free, cellular, tissue and whole-animal levels
  • Potential for beneficial applications and unanticipated consequences


Workshop 1:
The first workshop
, which was held in January 2007, focused on

1. Identifying classes of nanomaterials based on physical properties that enable prediction of their biological behaviors and fate throughout their life and

2. Identifying potential “hot spots” in the life of nanomaterials at which the nano-EHS research can be prioritized in order to validate the behavior of nanomaterials and their potential hazards.

The workshop provided for discussions among six nanomaterial workgroups, including oxide nanomaterials, semiconductor nanomaterials metal nanomaterials, carbon nanomaterials, macromolecular nanomaterials, and self-assembled nanomaterials. The findings developed from the discussions within each group were collated and served as inputs to the second workshop.

The second workshop took the next step and focused on the interactions of engineered nanomaterials in bilogical systems.


“These workshops have been supported by the National Science Foundation under NSF Award Number BES-0646107, the National Institutes of Health, the International Council on Nanotechnology, the Swiss Reinsurance Company.”



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This work is supported in part by the Nanoscale Science and Engineering Initiative of the National Science Foundation
under NSF Award Number EEC-0118007.

Rice University