In-vitro modelling of the lung’s response to environmental nanoparticulates

Theme: Aerosols and Health

Start date: Cohort 2: 2020

Supervisors: Prof. Darragh Murnane, Dr Laura Urbano


Nanotechnologies over the last few decades have gained huge attention and are estimated to continue growing, worth approximately $1 trillion by 2025. Nanoparticles(NPs) are produced by nanotechnologies and are on the rise in many consumer products, leading to a growing number of concerns for potential health effects with inhaled airborne exposure. This has led many studies to investigate inhaled NP toxicity, showing association with premature mortality and lung diseases as well as cardiovascular disease. Toxicity can be contributed to by many factors including composition, size, and shape, but also with proinflammatory effects, cellular oxidative stress, and lung clearance/retention. NPs potential health hazards with both indoor and outdoor sources, need to be answered due to growing concerns of the public, politicians and scientists. Nanotoxicology is employed to investigate the magnitude and mechanism of NP effect. Typically, animal studies have been used when investigating inhalable particulate matter toxicology, however, itiscostly, timeconsuming, and most importantly does not provide a good representation of the human lung’sresponse, leading to the safety assessment being inaccurate. Alternatives have been used with invitro, human lung cells, solving the costly and timeconsuming aspects of the limitations of animal models, however, they’re usually one type of cell, not accurately representing the complex nature of the interactions within the lung. To address the limitations found in both, an inhouse developed invitro model for alveolar epithelium and immune cells, exposure chamber ALI models, in conjunction with toxicological assays, expression studies and high content analysis will be used. Culminating in a more detailed understanding of the toxicological profile of the NPs.