Monthly Archives: January 2014

New Challenges and Public Health Implications of Microbial Resistance to Biocidal Processes

New Challenges and Public Health Implications of Microbial Resistance to Biocidal Processes

1358cf3Speaker: Dr. Gerald McDonnell, Vice President,

Research and Clinical Services Steris

Date: January 29, 2014

Time: 12:30-1:30 pm

Place: 665 Huntington Ave, Building 1, Room 1302, Boston, MA 02115

Abstract:  The control of microorganisms and microbial growth is an important consideration in public health.  This includes various disinfection and sterilization technologies that are used for the control of microorganisms on surfaces, in products/liquids or in air.  These play important roles in our daily lives, including the provision of safe drinking water, production and preservation of products, use of medical devices, biosafety controls and decontamination of general surfaces. Various chemical (referred to as ‘biocides’) and physical inactivation methods are widely used to render surfaces and products safe.  In most cases, the modes of action of these processes are quite distinct from the more specific mechanisms of action described for anti-infective agents such as antibiotics and antiviral agents.  They generally demonstrate a much wider range of antimicrobial activity, corresponding with non-specific and varied modes of action.  Despite these traditions, microbial control issues continue to challenge us.  This presentation will discuss some recent examples of inactivation studies with viruses, bacteria, protozoa and prions (infectious proteins) that challenge our current definitions and expectations for disinfection/sterilization processes.  These reports challenge our understanding of microbial resistance patterns and survival capabilities to established antimicrobial methods.

Panasonic continues its support to our Nanocenter


During their visit a delegation from Panasonic headed by Mr. Oketa continued their financial support to the Center of Nanotechnology and Nanotoxicology through a generous contribution to the Environmental Nanotechnology  postdoctoral Fellowship.

The panasonic delegates that visited our center were Takemi Oketa, Mitsuhiro Sano and Yosuke Mizuyama.

In the image above Prof. Demokritou receives the gift from Mr. Oketa in front of Dr. Mizuyama, Pyrgiotakis and Mr. Sano.

Researchers from our Center made it to the cover of the Enviromental Science: Nano

Screen Shot 2014-01-27 at 5.00.42 PM

Phil Demokritou et al. published recently a high impact paper at the Enviromental Science: Nano a new Journal from the Royal Society of Chemistry. Environmental Science: Nano covers the benefits and implications of nano-science and nanotechnology on environmental health and safety, and the sustainable design, development and use of nanotechnologies. This includes design, applications, life cycle implications, characterization in biological and environmental media, environmental and biological interactions and fate, transformations, transport, reactivity, biological uptake and ecotoxicity, and other areas of sustainable nanotechnology, such as interactions with pollutants and remediation of environmental contaminants by nanomaterials.

Our publication fits the objective of the journal and it was selected by the editors as the most innovative research article to decorate the cover of the first issue of the journal. You can find here the abstract of the paper and the link to the publisher. If you have access to the RSC you will be able to access the publications.

Screen Shot 2014-01-27 at 4.31.48 PMAbstract: Airborne pathogens are associated with the spread of infectious diseases and increased morbidity and mortality. Herein we present an emerging chemical free, nanotechnology-based method for airborne pathogen inactivation. This technique is based on transforming atmospheric water vapor into Engineered Water Nano-Structures (EWNS) via electrospray. The generated EWNS possess a unique set of physical, chemical, morphological and biological properties. Their average size is 25 nm and they contain reactive oxygen species (ROS) such as hydroxyl and superoxide radicals. In addition, EWNS are highly electrically charged (10 electrons per particle on average). A link between their electric charge and the reduction of their evaporation rate was illustrated resulting in an extended lifetime (over an hour) at room conditions. Furthermore, it was clearly demonstrated that the EWNS have the ability to interact with and inactivate airborne bacteria. Finally, inhaled EWNS were found to have minimal toxicological effects, as illustrated in an acute in-vivo inhalation study using a mouse model. In conclusion, this novel, chemical free, nanotechnology-based method has the potential to be used in the battle against airborne infectious diseases.

Commercialization of CNT-enabled Products: Tradeoffs Throughout Product Lifecycles

 Dr. Jacqueline Isaacs

Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Northeastern University, Boston, MA

Date:         January 23, 2014

Time:          12:30-1:30pm

Place:        665 Huntington Ave,

Bldg 1, Room 1302,

Boston, MA 02115


Abstract: Responsible commercialization of nano-enabled products (NEPs) will encompass not only the successful development of economically viable manufacturing techniques, but also, a conscious and systematic consideration of short and long-term societal impacts to avoid unintended consequences. The US National Nanotechnology Initiative has urged for more effective use of life cycle analysis (LCA) in decision-making, which in turn demands greater consideration of the ethical, legal, and social impacts (ELSI) of nanomanufacturing as it scales to commercial production. As part of its mission to establish novel directed self-assembly processes and techniques for continuous and scalable nanomanufacturing, the NSF Nanoscale Science and Engineering Center for High-rate Nanomanufacturing (CHN at Northeastern University, the University of Massachusetts Lowell and the University of New Hampshire) is developing three CNT applications that will soon move to large-scale production: electromagnetic interference (EMI) shielding, batteries, and chemical- and bio- sensors. Our current research (involving researchers from NU, UML and Yale) leverages CHN’s technical efforts by developing knowledge about life cycle impacts of CNT-enabled products – from manufacturing, through use and end-of-life. Worker safety is considered during manufacture and at product disposal in light of the uncertain hazards of CNTs. Process economics that include various levels of protection are explored. Recycled nanomaterials are explored for technical viability. Exposure assessments during end-of-life processing offer options to avoid exposures. Policy issues for responsible, sustainable development of nano-enabled products are also concurrently assessed.