OREGON STATE UNIVERSITY

New ONAMI Fellow to Examine Safety, Toxicology Aspects of Nanotechnology

02/03/2009

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Stacey Harper, a nationally recognized leader in the interactions of nanomaterials with biological systems, has been named as the sixth “signature research faculty fellow” of the Oregon Nanoscience and Microtechnologies Institute, or ONAMI.

As an assistant professor of nanotoxicology at Oregon State University, Harper will pursue research on the environmental and safety impacts of nanotechnology, in order to ensure the responsible development of this rapidly evolving industry.

“The innovative field of nanotechnology is most likely to benefit society and gain public acceptance if environmental, safety and health considerations are investigated systematically,” Harper said. “We will explore issues of particle behavior, bioavailability and toxicity in order to make good risk assessments.”

Issues that should be addressed, Harper said, include such topics as the biological uptake and bioavailability of nanoparticles, their possible magnification in the food chain, biological persistence, and possible role in oxidative stress.

Harper received her doctorate in biological sciences from the University of Nevada at Las Vegas. This new faculty position at OSU will be split between the Department of Environmental and Molecular Toxicology and the School of Chemical, Biological and Environmental Engineering. It will help the university develop a nanotoxicology curriculum and expand research programs, which focus on a systems biology approach and computational toxicology methodology to assess the safety of new nanomaterials and nanomaterial-containing products.

Harper has been part of ONAMI’s Safer Nanomaterials and Nanomanufacturing Initiative, and recently received a $1.5 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to continue her research on the safety of nanotechnology.