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Nano-Safety Research Group

Specialists in the assessment of nanomaterial toxicity to human health and the environment


Marina: Managing Risks of Nanomaterials

Staff: Teresa Fernandes, John Kinross, Simon Little, Jonathan Curry 


Funding: FP7


Project Aims: 

The aim of Marina is to develop and validate risk management methods for nanomaterials. As part of the project the suitability of standardised ecological test systems, such as those laid out by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) for the testing of nanomaterial toxicity wil be investigated.  Our role is to  investigate the ecotoxicity of a panel of engineered nanomaterials using a variety of models including Lumbriculus variagatus (worm) and Pseudokirchneriella subcapitata (algae).


Project Website:



  • Institute of Occupational Medicine (IOM)
  • European Research Services GmbH (ERS)
  • Aarhus University (AU)
  • Commissariat à l'énergie atomique (CEA)
  • Institut für Energie- und Umwelttechnik e.V (IUTA)
  • Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Testing and Research (EMPA)
  • Finnish Institute for Occupational Health (FIOH)
  • Fraunhofer-Institut für Molekularbiologie und Angewandte Oekologie IME-AE (IME)
  • Freie Universität Berlin (FUB)
  • Gothenburg University (UGOT)
  • Colorobbia
  • Institut National de l'Environment Industriel et des Risques (INERIS)
  • Instituto Nacional de Investigación y Tecnología Agragia y Alimentaria (INIA)
  • Joint Research Centre of the European Commission (JRC)
  • Max-Delbrück Center for molecular medicine (MDC)
  • Nanotechnology Industries Association aisbl (NIA)
  • National Physical Laboratory (NPL)
  • Stichting Dienst Landbouwkundig Onderzoek (DLO)
  • National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM)
  • Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research (TNO)
  • Universität Salzburg (PLUS)
  • University College Dublin (UCD)
  • University of Leeds (LEEDS)
  • University of Wien (UVIE)
  • VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland (VTT)
  • Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster (WWU)
  • Technical University of Denmark (DTU)
  • Venice Research Consortium (CVR)
  • The REACH Centre Ltd (TRC)
  • Karolinska Institute (KI)
  • National Center for Nanoscience and technology (NCNST)
  • Institute of Biochemistry, Russian Academy of Science (INBI)
  • University of Parma (UP)
  • Tor Vergata University Roma 2 (TVUR)
  • Edinburgh Napier University (Napier)
  • Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München (LMU)
  • University of Plymouth (UoP)
  • The Food and Environment Research Agency (FERA)
  • University of Birmingham (BHAM)
  • University of Tübingen (EKUT)
  • Nofer Institute of Occupational Medicine (NIOM)
  • Institut universitaire romand de Santé au Travail (IST)
  • NANOCYL sa (Ncyl)
  • National Institute for Materials Science (NIMS)


 marina logo

Quality Nano

QNANO: Quality Nano

Staff: Vicki Stone, Teresa Fernandes, Helinor Johnston


Funding: FP7


Project Aims:

The main aims of the project are to:

  • integrate 28 top European analytical & experimental facilities in nanotechnology, medicine and natural sciences with the goal of developing and implementing best practice and quality in all aspects of nanosafety assessment

Our role within the project is to:

Chair the Biological Expert Group who will provide advice to QualityNano partners about different aspects of the project such as the Round Robin exercises, and workshop content.


Project Website:



  • Natural History Museum (UK)
  • Institute of Occupational Medicine (IOM) (UK)
  • University of Leeds (UK)
  • University of Exeter (UK)
  • Joint Research Centre - JRC - European Commission (JRC) (Belgium)
  • Facultés Universitaires Notre-Dame de la Paix de Namur (FUNDP) (Belgium)
  • Vlaamse Instelling voor Technologisch Onderzoek NV (VITO) (Belgium)
  • Tyoeterveyslaitos Finnish Institute of Occupational Health (FIOH)(Finland)
  • University Paris Sud (UPS) (France)
  • Institut National de L'Environnement Industriel et des Risques (INERIS) (France)
  • Bundesinstitut für Risikobewertung (BfR) (Germany)
  • Karlsruher Institut für Technologie (KIT) (Germany)
  • Helmholtz Zentrum München, Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Gesundheit und Umwelt, GmbH (HMGU) (Germany)
  • Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München (LMU) (Germany)
  • Deutsche Gesetzliche Unfallversicherung (DGUV) (Germany)
  • University College Dublin - National University of Ireland, Dublin (NUID UCD) (Ireland)
  • Centre for Research on Adaptive Nanostructures & Nanodevices (CRANN), Trinity College, Dublin (Ireland)
  • Tel-Aviv University (TAU) (Israel)
  • Stichting Dienst Landbouwkundig Onderzoek (DLO/RIKILT) (Netherlands)
  • Wageningen University (WU)  (Netherlands)
  • Norsk Institutt for Luftforskning (NILU) (Norway)
  • Slovenská Zdravotnícka Univerzita v Bratislave (SMU) (Slovakia)
  • Asociación Centro de Investigación Cooperativa en Biomateriales (CIC)  (Spain)
  • Institut Català de Nanotecnologia (ICN) (Spain)
  • Uppsala University (UU) (Sweden)
  • Institut Universitaire Romand de Santé au Travail (IST) (Switzerland)



Q Nano logo website




ENRHES: Engineered nanoparticle review of human and environmental safety

Staff: Helinor Johnston, Teresa Fernandes and Vicki Stone

Funding: FP7


Project Aims

To generate a risk assessment for different nanomaterials, based upon exposure data, industrial activity and a review of nanomaterial hazard to humans and the environment. Our role was to conduct the literature review on the hazards posed by nanomaterials to human health.


The project report is available for download at:


Project website:


Project Partners

  • Institute of Occupational Medicine (IOM) (UK)
  • Technical University of Denmark (DTU) (Denmark)
  • Joint Research Commision, Institute for Health and Consumer Protection (JRC IHCP) (Italy)
  • Institute of Nanotechnology (UK)

Related Publications:

  • Johnston HJ, Hutchison G, Christensen FM, Peters S, Hankin S, Stone V (2010). A review of the in vivo and in vitro toxicity of silver and gold particulates: particle attributes and biological mechanisms responsible for the observed toxicity. Crit Rev Toxicol 40 (4) 328-46
  • Johnston HJ, Hutchison GR, Christensen FM, Peters S, Hankin S, Stone V (2009). Identification of the mechanisms that drive the toxicity of TiO(2 )particulates: the contribution of physicochemical characteristics. Part Fibre Toxicol 6; 33
  • Johnston HJ, Hutchison GR, Christensen FM, Aschberger K, Stone V (2010). The biological mechanisms and physicochemical characteristics responsible for driving fullerene toxicity. Toxicol Sci 114 (2) 162-82.
  • Johnston HJ, Hutchison GR, Christensen FM, Peteres S, Hankin S, Aschberger K, Stone V (2010). A critical review of the biological mechanisms underlying the in vivo and in vitro toxicity of carbon nanotubes: The contribution of physico-chemical characteristics. Nanotoxicology  4(2): 207–246.
  • Christensen FM, Johnston HJ, Stone V, Aitken RJ, Hankin S, Peters S, Aschberger K. (2011). Nano-TiO2 feasibility and challenges for human health risk assessment based on the open literature. Nanotoxicology. 5(2):110-24.
  • Aschberger K, Johnston HJ, Stone V, Aitken RJ, Hankin SM, Peters SA, Tran CL, Christensen FM. (2010). Review of carbon nanotubes toxicity and exposure - appraisal of human health risk assessment based on the open literature. Crit Rev Toxicol. 40(9):759-90.
  • Aschberger K, Johnston HJ, Stone V, Aitken RJ, Tran CL, Hankin SM, Peters SA, Christensen FM. (2010). Review of fullerene toxicity and exposure - appraisal of a human health risk assessment, based on the open literature. Regul Toxicol Pharmacol. 58(3):455-73.
  • Christensen FM, Johnston HJ, Stone V, Aitken RJ, Hankin S, Peters S, Aschberger K. (2010). nano-silver - feasibility and challenges for human health risk assessment based on the open literature. Nanotoxicology. 4(3):284-95.



NanoImpactNet: European Network on the Health and Environmental Impact of Nanomaterials

Staff: Vicki Stone, Teresa Fernandes

Funding: FP7

Project Aims:

NanoImpactNet was a multidisciplinary European network on the health and environmental impact of nanomaterials. The project aimed to support the safe and responsible development of nanomaterials, and communication between the scientific community and a variety of stakeholders was essential e.g. to support the implementation of legislation in Europe. Vicki Stone and Teresa Fernandes were work package leaders of the ‘Hazards and fate of nanomaterials in the environment’ component of the project.

Project Website:

Nanoimpact net logo website


PARTICLE_RISK: Risk assessment of exposure to particles

Staff: Helinor Johnston and Vicki Stone


Project Aim

This project was responsible for assessing the health risks associated with exposure to nanomaterials. The adverse effects of a particle panel, that had varied physico-chemical characteristics, was assessed at different target sites in order to identify the physical and chemical characteristics of particles that confer toxicity.Our role was to assess impact of nanomaterial exposure on the liver, and to provide data for risk assessment methodology development.


  • Institute of Occupational Medicine (IOM) (UK)
  • University of Edinburgh (UK)
  • Helmholtz Zentrum München - German Research  Center for Environmental Health (Germany)
  • Università Ca' Foscari di Venezia (Italy)

Related Publications

  • Johnston HJ, Semmler-Behnke M, Brown DM, Kreyling W, Tran L, Stone V. (2010).Evaluating the uptake and intracellular fate of polystyrene nanoparticles by primary and hepatocyte cell lines in vitro.Toxicol Appl Pharmacol.242(1):66-78
  • Zuin S, Micheletti C, Critto A, Pojana G, Johnston H, Stone V, Tran L, Marcomini A. (2011).Weight of evidence approach for the relative hazard ranking of nanomaterials.Nanotoxicology.5(3):445-58.
  • Johnston H, Pojana G, Zuin S, Jacobsen NR, Møller P, Loft S, Semmler-Behnke M, McGuiness C, Balharry D, Marcomini A, Wallin H, Kreyling W, Donaldson K, Tran L, Stone V. (2013). Engineered nanomaterial risk. Lessons learnt from completed nanotoxicology studies: potential solutions to current and future challenges. Crit Rev Toxicol. 43(1):1-20