Nanolecture Series 2019 – 2020

October 10, 2019

Structure activity relationships in nanotechnology
Tian Xia, Associate Professor of Medicine, University of California, Los Angeles

Dr. Tian Xia is the Associate Professor of Medicine in Division of NanoMedicine, Department of Medicine at University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). His main research area is on the environmental and health impacts of engineered nanomaterials with the goal to understand the nanostructure property activity relationships. Predictive toxicology and high throughput screening are the main approaches for his research. His has established toxicological profiles for over 100 different nanomaterials covering the major material categories including carbonaceous materials (fullerene, graphene, graphene oxide, carbon nanotubes (single-, multi-walled)), metal (Au, Ag) and metal oxides (transition metal oxide, rare earth oxide), silica, III-V materials. Research findings have been used for safer design of nanomaterials and development of environmental and biomedical applications. He has published over 130 articles and he was named Highly Cited Researcher in Chemistry in 2016 and 2018 by Clarivate Analytics, with total citation over 30,000 and H factor at 60 according to Google Scholar.

Abstract: Using a predictive toxicological approach with the focus on elucidating nano-bio interactions at nano-bio interface, we have screened over 100 ENMs of major types of engineered nanomaterials (ENMs) and developed important structure activity relationships (SAR) that can be used for developing adverse outcome pathways (AOPs) in predicting in vivo injury outcomes. Among these SARs, we found that ENMs including rare earth oxides (REOs), graphene and graphene oxides (GO), fumed silica, as well as high aspect ratio materials (such as CNTs and CeO2 nanowires etc.) could trigger the NLRP3 inflammasome activation and IL-1β production in macrophages and subsequent series of events including production of pro-fibrogenic cytokines including TGF-β1 and PDGF-AA in vitro and in vivo, resulting in synergistically cell-cell communication among macrophages, epithelial cells, and fibroblasts in a process called epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) and collagen deposition in the lung as the adverse outcomes. Intriguingly, different ENMs engage a range of distinct pathways leading to the NLRP3 inflammasome activation and IL-1β production in macrophages, which include frustrated phagocytosis, physical piercing, plasma membrane perturbation or damage to lysosomes due to high aspect ratio, surface functional groups, surface reactivity, dissolution and transformation. In this nanolecture, I will introduce in detail some of these major SARs leading to chronic lung effects and how this information could be used for safer design of nanomaterials for their applications.

December 7, 2019

Global health impacts of nanotechnology law
Ilise Feitshans, Fellow in International Law of Nanotechnology, European Scientific Institute, Archamps Technopole

Dr. Ilise L. Feitshans, JD, ScM, DIR, international lawyer and former international civil servant at the United Nations, Geneva, Switzerland, obtained her masters of science in public health from Johns Hopkins University, USA, and doctorate in international relations from Geneva School of Diplomacy, Switzerland, in 2014. She is a Fellow in Law of Nanotechnology at the European Scientific Institute, Archamps, France (affiliated with CERN and the University of Grenoble), and executive director of the Work Health and Survival Project. She is also a member of the US Supreme Court bar and was acting director of the Legislative Drafting Research Fund, Columbia University School of Law, New York, USA. Her pro-bono activities include Legal Advisor to the Greek National Platform on Nanomedicine, University of Aristotle, Thessaloniki, Greece, since 2015 and Legal Advisor for the European Commission to NANORIGO (Nantoechnology Risk Governance Council) to be developed by2022. Ilise served as coordinatrice for the ILO Encyclopedia of Occupational Health and Safety in Geneva, Switzerland. A graduate cum laude of Barnard College of Columbia University, New York, USA, she was also visiting scientist at the Institute for Work and Health, University of Lausanne, Switzerland (2011–2014). She was honored among “100 Women Making a Difference in Safety, Health and Environment Professions” by the American Society of Safety Engineers in 2011 and received the Superwomen award in 2016. Her doctorate in international relations also won the best research prize in social medicine and prevention at the University of Lausanne in 2014.

Abstract: Europe is creating methods for regulating nanotechnology which may become a prototype for science governance globally. When nanotechnology applications pose unquantified risk, several Paneuropean projects attempt to balance two competing social needs: creating a culture of innovation and discovery while protecting safety of consumers and workers and protecting environmental and human health. The European Food Safety Authority, several agencies involved in the Registration Evaluation and Assessment of Chemicals (REACh) and the European Medical Agency are examples of established areas of law creating a new system that allocate responsibly before any harm occurs rather than using retrospective tools such as enforcement penalties and litigation. Additionally, the NANORIGO (NANOtechnology Risk Governance) project has a broad mission that includes creating a Risk Governance Council for nanotechnology. The project is mandated to address: Commercial application of Safe by Design Moving from Nanosafety to Governance. This lecture describes nanotechnology’s basic laws and NANORIGO plans with a view understanding nanotechnology’s impact for health systems implementing precautionary principles under law, which holds implications for European federalism and may change the face of trade law governing commerce globally.

CANCELLED: April 7, 2020

Biological response profiles of selected engineered nanomaterials after perinatal exposure
Peter Thorne, Professor and Head, Department of Occupational and Environmental Health, University of Iowa