Special Issue "Nanotoxicology"
Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 January 2012)
Prof. Dr. David Sheehan
Proteomic Research Laboratory, Head of School of Biochemistry and Cell Biology, University College Cork, Western Gateway Building, Western Rd, Cork, Ireland
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Interests: enzymology and evolution of glutathione transferases; application of proteomics to study of oxidative stress; implications of reactive oxygen and nitrogen species for kidney function; environmental toxicology; nanomaterials as emerging toxicological threats
Nanomaterials are defined as possessing at least one dimension less than 100nm. These include naturally-occurring products of combustion processes (e.g. volcanic dust) and man-made (anthropogenic) engineered materials. At least part of the appeal of nanomaterials arises from the fact that even relatively inert materials have interesting and different chemical properties on the nanoscale compared to the same material on the macroscale. These properties depend partly on chemical composition but also on aspects of nanoparticle geometry such as surface area. There is growing concern that at least some nanomaterials can readily cross biobarriers such as skin, lung epithelium and the blood-brain barrier and, in this way, may pose an emerging toxic threat to human health. Remarkably little is known about the fate of nanomaterials in the environment and study of issues such as dose-response, routes of exposure and appropriate benchmark controls are in their infancy. In addition, nanomaterials can become coated with a “corona” of proteins which have the potential to confer biospecific recognition properties on them, perhaps facilitating their internalisation into cells or interaction with biological targets. Notwithstanding this, the technological application of nanomaterials (nanotechnology) is one of the fastest-growing areas of materials science and is making contributions to new medical devices, electronics, automobile manufacture and new paints/varnishes. There is a general perception that applications research in nanotechnology is outpacing research into the new field of nanotoxicology. This special issue will address this research need by bringing together research articles and reviews focusing on aspects of nanotoxicology such as the need for rigorous nanoparticle physicochemical characterisation, the question of defined dose and contribution of composition, size and geometry to toxicity in biological systems.
Prof. Dr. David Sheehan