What’s your nano poison?

Written for Chemistry World by Harriet Brewerton

Informatics tool helps researchers visualise complex toxicity datasets

To help predict and avoid designing toxic nanomaterials, researchers have created an informatics tool that can pull out and visualise key information from a large collection of complex nanomaterials research.

Nanomaterials are now common in commercial products such as clothing and cleaning agents, and the amount of research into potential adverse environmental and health effects has increased exponentially. However, there is no comprehensive way to compare, or visualise, this information that could help researchers find correlations between nanomaterial properties and their toxicity. As well as the sheer volume of information, different studies also often consider different experimental conditions and biological material, making it very difficult to compare data directly.

Now, Sandra Karcher at Carnegie Mellon University, US, and her team have designed N4mics, a tool that can visualise nanoparticle toxicity research on zebrafish stored in the Nanomaterial-Biological Interactions Knowledgebase. Karcher says: ‘We developed the tool as a testbed to demonstrate how data that are standardised and shared can be mined to create visual comparisons between nanomaterial types. These visualisations are then used to generate novel hypotheses about how the properties of those materials affect their toxicity potential.’

Read the full article in Chemistry World.

Visualization tool for correlating nanomaterial properties and biological responses in zebrafish

Sandra C. Karcher, Bryan J. Harper, Stacey L. Harper, Christine Ogilvie Hendren, Mark R. Wiesner and Gregory V. Lowry

Environ. Sci.: Nano, 2016, Advance Article

DOI: 10.1039/C6EN00273K, Paper

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