Nanoparticles for biology

The University of Oregon has received a three-year $1.6m grant from the WM Keck Foundation to research the biological effects of nanoparticles engineered for medical uses.


The project aims to help researchers understand potential biological interactions of engineered nanomaterials and develop design rules for nanoparticles with enhanced biological effects.


The researchers will produce specific nanoparticles, investigate their interactions with biological systems and then design new materials and nanoparticle libraries that have specific biological responses.


‘Our goal is to define the important interactions at the bio-nano interface, as well as the ground rules for producing nanoparticles that have very fine-tuned objectives,’ said Jim Hutchison, director of the Safer Nanomaterials and Nanomanufacturing Initiative. ‘The end results could lead to a variety of future therapeutics that specifically seek out and destroy cancer cells or promote desired cell growth for tissue regeneration.’


Testing will involve laboratory experiments using zebrafish, monitoring the effect of nanoparticles on tissue, toxicity and gene regulation.


Researchers will also look at the basic construction of nanoparticles and build on the library of gold nanoparticles created by Hutchinson using his green-chemistry approach.