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Nano-Safety Research Group

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


NanoBEE: Consortium for manufactured nanomaterial bioavailability & environmental exposure

Staff: Vicki Stone, Teresa Fernandes, John Kinross, Kai Paul and Judit Kalman

Funding: Joint project UK-USA funded by NERC (UK) and EPA (USA)

Project Aims
The NanoBEE consortia will develop and refine, using empirical data, a critical subset of models focused on exposure to nanomaterials (NMs) and their bioavailability in the environment. The objectives of this study are to: 

  • generate controlled and well characterized NMs libraries for environmental assessment
  • prove that soft landed gold clusters provide suitable fiducial markers to enable angstrom resolution in aquatic tomography of NMs in environmental media 
  • demonstrate that NM environmental modification processes can be classified by the extent of aggregation, dissolution and surface modification and to experimentally and computationally describe the partition of these modified NMs between environmental compartments 
  • develop modified biodynamic models for NM bioavailability that reflect both water and food exposures and 
  • validate biotic ligand models for NM effects on aquatic organisms.

An integrated computational and experimental program will examine the environmental chemistry of manufactured NMs using electron microscopy, scattering techniques, and spectroscopy; use traceable NMs to quantify influx and efflux rates in model aquatic species, including in a trophic chain; and employ both conventional measures of toxicological endpoints as well as the latest molecular (‘omics’) methods to quantify biological effects as well as identify new mechanisms for toxicity. Such information will be input into biotic ligand models for NMs classes that output anticipated EC50 and other outcomes given information about NM exposure and local water chemistry. Through its engagement with endusers the consortia will link its predictions of NM body burdens and toxicological outcomes to risk management frameworks useful in regulatory decision-making.


  • University of Birmingham
  • Rice University, Houston, TX, USA
  • Clemson University, SC, USA
  • University of California - Davis, CA, USA
  • University of Exeter, UK
  • Natural History Museum, London, UK.