Nanotechnology is an enabling platform that will provide a broad range of novel applications and improved technologies for biomedical science due to the unique physical and chemical properties inherent to nanomaterials. Pertinent to the development of promising biomedical nanotechnologies, and to the safety of nanomaterials in general, is a thorough understanding of nanomaterial-biological interactions. Yet, the principal characteristics that may be predictive of nanomaterial interactions with biological systems have not been elucidated because of the current lack of data, the enormous diversity of nanomaterials, and the lack of coordinated efforts to share findings and translate data into knowledge. The embryonic zebrafish model is a dynamic in vivo system that offers the power of whole-animal investigations with the convenience of cell culture to rapidly evaluate interactions between engineered nanomaterials and biological systems. Investigations using this model system can reveal subtle interactions at multiple levels of biological organization, i.e. molecular, cellular, systems, organismal. Our approach couples the many advantages of the embryonic zebrafish assay with an ideal nanoparticle platform in order to systematically assess the relative influence of various physiochemical parameters on overall biological responses to nanomaterial exposure. High-purity, ligand-functionalized gold nanoparticles (AuNPs) synthesized in aqueous environments can be precisely engineered such that individual aspects of the material can be evaluated independently. It is well understood that data from this emerging field will be extremely diverse including a multitude of widely varying nanomaterials that are being/or will be tested in a broad array of animal systems and in vitro assays. Knowledge of nanomaterial-biological interactions will likely only be arrived at upon inclusion and consideration of the entire body of data produced from global efforts in this research area. To address these needs in the nascent field of nanobiotechnology, our group has developed a collaborative knowledgebase of Nanomaterial-Biological Interactions (NB). The NBI knowledgebase serves as a repository for annotated data on nanomaterial characterization, synthesis methods, and nanomaterial-biological interactions define at multiple levels of biological organization. Relevant computational, analytic and data mining tools will be incorporated into NBI to the framework for species, route, dose and scenario extrapolations and for identification of key data required to predict the biological interactions of nanomaterials.

Public Health Relevance

New nanomaterials are rapidly being developed for a wide range of biomedical applications (e.g. high-performance diagnostic probes, site-selective therapeutics, prosthetics, regenerative medicine, imaging, etc.), so it is surprising that so little is known about how or why nanomaterials interact with biological systems and even less is known about how to design them to exhibit a desired effect in whole animals. The immediate need to gain comprehensive information on biological-nanomaterial interactions requires systematic, collaborative scientific investigation to define nanomaterial-biological interactions and describe how specific properties of nanomaterials govern biological responses. Timely evaluation and dissemination of information on nanomaterial-biological interactions will provide much needed data, improve public trust of the nanotechnology industry, and provide nanomaterial designers in academia and industry with information to direct the development of high-performance, safe nanomaterials and resulting biomedical technologies.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS)
Research Project (R01)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
Special Emphasis Panel (ZRG1-NANO-M (01))
Program Officer
Nadadur, Srikanth
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
Oregon State University
Public Health & Prev Medicine
Schools of Earth Sciences/Natur
United States
Zip Code
Wang, Ruhung; N Meredith, Alicea; Lee Jr, Michael et al. (2016) Toxicity assessment and bioaccumulation in zebrafish embryos exposed to carbon nanotubes suspended in Pluronic® F-108. Nanotoxicology 10:689-98
Qin, Min; Landriscina, Angelo; Rosen, Jamie M et al. (2015) Nitric Oxide-Releasing Nanoparticles Prevent Propionibacterium acnes-Induced Inflammation by Both Clearing the Organism and Inhibiting Microbial Stimulation of the Innate Immune Response. J Invest Dermatol 135:2723-2731
Wehmas, Leah C; Anders, Catherine; Chess, Jordan et al. (2015) Comparative Metal Oxide Nanoparticle Toxicity Using Embryonic Zebrafish. Toxicol Rep 2:702-715
Mordorski, Breanne; Pelgrift, Robert; Adler, Brandon et al. (2015) S-nitrosocaptopril nanoparticles as nitric oxide-liberating and transnitrosylating anti-infective technology. Nanomedicine 11:283-91
Krausz, Aimee E; Adler, Brandon L; Cabral, Vitor et al. (2015) Curcumin-encapsulated nanoparticles as innovative antimicrobial and wound healing agent. Nanomedicine 11:195-206
Bugel, Sean M; Tanguay, Robert L; Planchart, Antonio (2014) Zebrafish: A marvel of high-throughput biology for 21(st) century toxicology. Curr Environ Health Rep 1:341-352
Pryor, Joseph B; Harper, Bryan J; Harper, Stacey L (2014) Comparative toxicological assessment of PAMAM and thiophosphoryl dendrimers using embryonic zebrafish. Int J Nanomedicine 9:1947-56
Levard, Clement; Hotze, Ernest M; Colman, Benjamin P et al. (2013) Sulfidation of silver nanoparticles: natural antidote to their toxicity. Environ Sci Technol 47:13440-8
Kim, Ki-Tae; Truong, Lisa; Wehmas, Leah et al. (2013) Silver nanoparticle toxicity in the embryonic zebrafish is governed by particle dispersion and ionic environment. Nanotechnology 24:115101
Kim, Ki-Tae; Zaikova, Tatiana; Hutchison, James E et al. (2013) Gold nanoparticles disrupt zebrafish eye development and pigmentation. Toxicol Sci 133:275-88

Showing the most recent 10 out of 23 publications