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Nano-Safety Research Group

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

Dr Julia Varet

Research interests

Julia small

Julia is currently working at the Institute of Occupational Medicine and is conducting toxicological assessment studies in collaboration with the Nano-Safety Research Group at Heriot-Watt University as a as an honorary research fellow. Julia is a member of the SAFENANO initiative ( – a partnership between the Nano-Safety Research Group and the Institute of Occupational Medicine (IOM) ( – which aims to provide independent, impartial advice concerning the potential risks to the environment and human health from nanomaterials. Julia is involved in several EU FP7 projects: Sanowork (Safe Nano Worker Exposure scenarios) and NanoSafePack. Sanowork is a project aiming to evaluate risk remediation strategies for nanomaterials (for more information, please visit NanoSafePack aims at developing best practices guide for the safe handling and use of nanomaterials in packaging industries (for more information please visit Moreover, as part of Safenano, Julia is also involved non EU funded pieces of work. Her expertise lies in the development of a large range of in vitro toxicity assays to best answers questions related to the toxicological profiles of materials in relation to the routes of exposure.


Julia Varet is a toxicologist and has expertise in the testing of nanoparticles using a range of in vitro techniques. After graduating with a MSc in Cellular Biology from the Université de Rouen in 2001, she undertook a PhD on angiogenesis and its pharmacological regulation by drugs and gene therapy, in cancer and vascular diseases. Following completion, she worked as a Research Assistant at Bristol University, on acute respiratory distress syndrome, focussing on the vascular endothelial growth factor in alveolar-capillary membrane damage and repair. She gained experience of working in an accredited clinical biochemistry laboratory as part of the NHS, before joining the SAFENANO team as a staff scientist in 2008.


  • Clift MJ, Varet J, Hankin SM, Brownlee B, Davidson AM, Brandenberger C, Rothen-Rutishauser B, Brown DM, Stone V. Quantum dot cytotoxicity in vitro: an investigation into the cytotoxic effects of a series of different surface chemistries and their core/shell materials. Nanotoxicology. 2011 Dec;5(4):664-74. doi: 10.3109/17435390.2010.534196. 
  •  Julia Varet and Vicki Stone. How Nanotoxicology is Supporting Nanotechnology Safety and Sustainability. Nano Magazine October 2009, 14:34-36.

Contact Julia

Call: +44 (0) 131 451 4442

Location: William Perkin Building, room WP318, School of Life Sciences,  Heriot-Watt University, Riccarton Campus, Edinburgh, EH14 4AS