Seminar by Vicki Grassian

An Integrated Approach Toward Understanding the Environmental Fate, Transport and Toxicity of Metal and Metal Oxide Nanomaterials

Dr. Vicki Grassian

F. Wendell Miller Professor, University of Iowa
Nanoparticles, the primary building blocks of many nanomaterials, may become suspended in air or get into water systems, e.g. drinking water systems, ground water systems, estuaries and lakes etc. Therefore, manufactured nanoparticles can become a component of the air we breathe or the water we drink. One important issue in understanding the environmental fate, transport and toxicity of nanoparticles is in characterizing the nature and state of nanoparticles in air, water or in vivo. For the nanoparticles of interest in these studies, metals and metal oxides, it can be asked: (i) will metal oxide and metal nanoparticles be present in air or water as isolated particles or in the form of aggregates?; (ii) will metal oxide and metal nanoparticles dissolve in aqueous solution or in vivo? and; (iii) under what conditions will metal oxide and metal nanoparticles aggregate or dissolve? The effect on biological systems including nanoparticle-biological interactions and toxicity will depend on the state of nanoparticles. Furthermore, the adsorption of environmentally and biologically relevant molecules on the surface of metal oxide nanoparticles can also impact the properties of nanoparticles. As discussed in this talk, an integrated approach that combines molecular level details and studies of biological interactions is used to address these questions and issues.
Professor Vicki H. Grassian is currently the F. Wendell Miller Professor in the Department of Chemistry at the University of Iowa and holds appointments in the Departments of Chemical and Biochemical Engineering and Occupational and Environmental Health. In 2006, she was appointed Founding Director of the Nanoscience and Nanotechnology Institute at Iowa. She also currently directs the Nanotoxicology Core of the NIEHS-funded Environmental Health Sciences Research Center. Professor Grassian’s research interests are in the areas of environmental molecular surface science, heterogeneous atmospheric chemistry, climate impacts of atmospheric aerosols, and environmental and health aspects of nanoscience and nanotechnology. Her research on environmental applications and implications of metal and metal oxide nanoparticles as well as nanocrystalline zeolites utilizes molecular-based tools to provide unique insights into the surface reactivity of these materials. She published over 250 peer-reviewed articles, 16 book chapters and edited 3 books includingNanoscience and Nanotechnology: Environmental and Health Impacts published in 2008 by John Wiley and Sons. In 2013, Professor Grassian was named the inaugural Editor-in-Chief of the journal Environmental Science: Nano, published by the Royal Society of Chemistry. In 2014, she co-chaired an NSF-sponsored workshop focused on NanoEHS: Fundamental Science Needs in conjunction with the Sustainable Nanotechnology Organization annual meeting.

Seminar Date