Professor Chenzhong Li receives funding from the NIH- National Institutes of Environmental Health Sciences for his work on “Biosensing Devices for Cytotoxic and Genotoxic Assessment of Nanomaterials”. This one year $480,217 award will assess toxicity of nanomaterials at DNA, whole cell and tissue level using an integrated electronic sensing device thereby addressing a significant gap in our understanding of the environmental toxicity of rapidly developing novel nanomaterials.
The integration of nanomaterials and biotechnology is widely utilized and has great potential in rapidly developing fields such as biomedical engineering research, drug delivery, environmental health, pharmaceutical industries and even electronics and communication technologies. With this rapid development, questions have arisen whether the use of these new nanoscale materials might have unintended hazards. While the number of nanoparticle types and applications continues to increase, studies to characterize their effects after exposure and to address their potential toxicity are few in comparison.
The goal of this effort is to investigate toxicity of nanomaterials at DNA, whole cell and tissue level using an integrated electronic sensing device. The biosensing device is capable of kinetically assessing toxicity for multiple samples. In the system, the effects of nanoparticle exposure on cell behaviors such as cell attachment, cell motility, and oxidative DNA damage will be monitored by an embedded micro electrical biosensing device. Furthermore, a novel 3D in vitro cell culture model will be incorporated into the sensing system to mimic the response of in vivo blood brain barrier (BBB) following nanomaterials exposure. . In this context, the methodology becomes a truly powerful and throughput analytical device. This tool will help bridge scientific gaps and elucidate potential benefits and risks related to the use of nanoengineered materials.