About this Research Topic
Nanomaterials (NMs) are increasingly used in industry, consumer goods or as food supplements, and enable the development of innovative technologies with great potential also in medicine. However, exposure to NMs poses a potential risk to human health and the environment. Therefore, the manufacture, use and disposal of NMs requires a comprehensive risk assessment.
Identification of key physico-chemical parameters (i.e., nano descriptors) defining toxicity of NMs might provide clues for an improved design to possibly obtain biocompatible materials (aka the safe-by-design concept). Since only a few materials can be rigorously and comprehensively tested in long-term experiments in animal models, the development of meaningful and advanced in vitro models plays a crucial role in elucidating the biological and toxic action of NMs. Specifically, to keep pace with the ever-growing number of novel NMs and variants thereof the development of high-throughput/high-content methods is warranted. Moreover, mathematical models have been developed to describe the biodistribution of NMs in the body, and to associate NM physico-chemical characteristics with the biological responses. Mathematical models will help in reducing animal experiments and contribute to the production of nanomaterials which are safe-by-design.
For the investigation of toxicity pathways, substantial efforts are needed to establish more complex, molecular read-outs beyond simplistic acute cytotoxicity assays as monitored most often so far. The combination of functional genomics and chemical biology approaches together with advanced cell culture models (e.g. organoids, 2-D and 3-D co-cultures) and the analysis of targeted signaling pathways and stress responses should pave the way to provide more precise insights into the mode of action of NMs at large.
In addition to conventional endpoint assays employing established markers of toxicity and procedures, systems biology approaches enable an unbiased investigation of NMs and, thus, could unveil unknown mechanisms of action with broad relevance for the field of toxicology.
In this Research Topic on “Advanced Methods for Hazard Assessment of Nanomaterials”, we welcome contributions related to the topic as outlined above. Specifically, the following areas of research are of interest:
• Identification of physico-chemical properties to pinpoint nano-descriptors (e.g., using dedicated NM libraries tuning certain aspects such as surface functionalities, shape, size, solubility, etc.).
• Advanced exposure systems to mimic ecological and physiological conditions (air-liquid exposure, in vitro models of the gastro-intestinal tract and the skin, blood brain barrier, organoids, iPS cells, etc.).
• Global assessment of toxicity by multi-omics approaches, functional genetics, and data integration.
• High-throughput and high-content assays to speed up hazard ranking of NMs.
• Quantitative Structure-Activity Relationships for nanomaterials (NanoQSAR).
• Quantitative Structure-Property Relationships for nanomaterials (NanoQSPR).
• Nanoinformatics methods for supporting the process of grouping nanomaterials.
• The application of read across for predicting properties of nanoparticles.
• Prediction properties of nanoparticles with use of first principles-based (multiscale) calculations.
• Computational modeling of interactions between nanoparticles and biologically relevant molecules (proteins, lipids, DNA etc.).
• The use nanoinformatics tools for analyzing “omics” data.
• Bioinformatics methods for developing Adverse Outcome Pathways (AOPs) activated by NMs.
We look forward to receiving your valuable contributions to this topic. We welcome submissions of article types including Original Research, Hypothesis & Theory, Reviews and Perspectives (please see the details about the article types available here).
Keywords: Nanomaterials, Hazard Assessment, Toxicity, Risk assessment, Nanodescriptors
Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.