CBNI researchers draw a roadmap for classification of nanoparticles – the publication features as the cover story in Nanoscale Horizons

Friday, 7 July 2017

In the July issue of Nanoscale Horizons, Prof Dawson and his team describe a strategy that combines experimental evidence on multiple characteristics of nanoparticles to serve as a basis to classify nanoparticles. This study provides an essential step forward towards building a nanoparticle database for the global research community.

Research groups around the world study different aspects of nanoparticles - from their physical and chemical properties to how they behave in different biological environments. This research has generated and keeps generating a vast amount of data on known and new nanoparticles. Putting those discrete sets of data together to generate a classification system has been a challenge so far. 

In their study, CBNI researchers developed a workflow that, for each nanoparticle, integrates the experimental evidence on its physical and chemical features, the composition of the protein coating along its surface in vitro and its biological activity in vivo.

 “We bring together all the work done in the field in the last 10 years,” said Valentina Castagnola, a post-doctoral researcher at CBNI and the first author of the paper, “This combines the knowledge from different fields, from chemistry to biology, and can provide solutions to challenges in the broader field of nanomaterial research.”

A database that contains this information for each nanoparticle would enable researchers to compare existing particles & find the one that best suits their research goals.

“We feel that we are much closer to being able to categorise existing and future nanomaterials in a way that is useful for biological, medical and safety applications,” stated Prof Kenneth Dawson, highlighting how their study contributes to the field.