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Home > Press > Rice experts available to comment on study about nanotube safety

Chemists and nanosafety experts Vicki Colvin and Kristen Kulinowski of Rice University's Center for Biological and Environmental Nanotechnology are available to speak with reporters about newly published research that finds that certain multi-walled carbon nanotubes (MWNT) can induce responses in mice that are similar to those induced by asbestos fibers.

Rice experts available to comment on study about nanotube safety

Houston, TX | Posted on May 20th, 2008

The study, "Carbon nanotubes introduced into the abdominal cavity of mice show asbestos-like pathogenicity in a pilot study," which was led by researchers at the University of Edinburgh, was released today by Nature Nanotechnology.

Colvin and Kulinowski say the research is important for advancing scientists' understanding of the potential risks associated with certain types of engineered nanomaterials.

Asbestos exposure in humans has been linked to a type of cancer known as mesothelioma as well as other diseases. In the new study, lead researcher Ken Donaldson and colleagues injected long and short MWNTs into the peritoneal cavity of mice and noted later that the mesothelium had the same inflammatory response to the long nanotube fibers as to long asbestos fibers. This response was not induced by the short, tangled MWNTs.

A backgrounder on the findings is available from the International Council on Nanotechnology at

Founded in 2001, CBEN was the first academic research center in the world dedicated to studying the interaction between nanomaterials and living organisms and ecosystems. CBEN is funded by the National Science Foundation.

Vicki Colvin, CBEN director and professor of chemistry, and Kristen Kulinowski, CBEN executive director and faculty fellow in chemistry, are two of the world's leading experts on the environmental health and safety (EHS) implications of nanotechnology.


About Rice University
Located in Houston, Rice University is consistently ranked one of America's best teaching and research universities. Known for its "unconventional wisdom," Rice is distinguished by its: size -- 3,001 undergraduates and 2,144 graduate students; selectivity --12 applicants for each place in the freshman class; resources -- an undergraduate student-to-faculty ratio of 5-to-1; sixth largest endowment per student among American private research universities; residential college system, which builds communities that are both close-knit and diverse; and collaborative culture, which crosses disciplines, integrates teaching and research, and intermingles undergraduate and graduate work.

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David Ruth
Associate Director for National and Broadcast Media
Rice University
Cell: 612-702-9473

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