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Nano-Safety Research Group

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

Human Health

The research conducted by the Nano-Safety Research Group aims to determine whether different types of nanomaterials can cause adverse effects following human exposure. As nanomaterials are incorporated into a variety of different products it is expected that exposure will occur in occupational, consumer and environmental settings via inhalation (lungs), ingestion (gut), injection (blood) and dermal application (skin). Accordingly our research group evaluates the hazards (toxicity) posed by nanomaterials following exposure via different routes, at the exposure site and a number of secondary target sites due to the ability of nanomaterials to become quite widely distributed in the body following exposure (e.g. lung, gut, liver, kidneys, immune system).  

The research that we conduct:

1. Identifies the physico-chemical characteristics of nanomaterials (such as composition, size, and shape) that might be responsible for making them hazardous (harmful). This will help promote the safe design of nanomaterials in the future, but is also important to the regulation of nanomaterial use and production.

2. Supports the development of cell based (in vitro) tests to screen nanomaterial toxicity as alternatives to animal testing. Importantly, the models that we develop to test nanomaterial safety may be more widely applicable to other chemicals and pathogens.

3. Evaluates the mechanisms by which nanomaterials may induce toxicity. This helps in our understanding of how nanomaterials may cause adverse health effects, and can be used to identify appropriate biological responses to screen nanomaterial toxicity


The Nano-Safety Research Group also specialises in the assessment of the environmental impacts of nanomaterials. An important aspect of our research is therefore to identify when cross-overs occur between human health and environmental nanotoxicology research.