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June 27th, 2007
OSU scores grants for nanomaterials study The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has given two grants totaling almost $600,000 to Oregon State University for nanotechnology research that will evaluate whether some nanomaterials could be toxic to human health.
A three-year, $400,000 grant will screen commonly manufactured nanomaterials to determine their potential interactions with biological processes. The OSU research team, led by Robert Tanguay, will search for nanomaterials that produce adverse effects, then identify the potential cellular and genetic targets of the nanomaterials.
The second three-year grant for $199,993 will determine how nanomaterials could damage or kill cells. Alan Bakalinsky is studying the relationship between specific characteristics of nanoparticles, such as shape and structure, and their effects on cells. The work is expected to lead to safety guidelines for industrial and environmental exposure to nanomaterials.
Manufactured nanoparticles -- any particle smaller than .25-millionths of an inch, or 1,000 times smaller than a human hair -- are designed in labs to have commercially useful properties. They are found in hundreds of consumer items, such as cosmetics, clothing and personal care products.
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