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Project ID: 691095
Funded under: H2020-EU.1.3.3.

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - NANOGENTOOLS (Developing and implementation of a new generation of nanosafety assessment tools)

Reporting period: 2016-01-01 to 2017-12-31

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

The main challenge in the exploitation of nanotechnology for the benefit of European society has been the uncertainty surrounding the potential associated risks.
NGT answers this challenge by joining industry and academia to create a collaborative excellence-based knowledge exchange network pushing forward and training scientists in new methodologies to assess long term nanosafety, testing their applicability for NMs and pre-validating them, and finally discussing their relevance and suitability for standardization and inclusion in present and future EU regulations.
This strategic objective is supported by 5 following general operational objectives:
• Provide solutions for faster and more reliable assessment of NM toxicity and propose a battery of HTS and -omics tools suitable for predicting the toxicological properties of NMs.
• Develop new bioinformatics methodologies capable of analyzing -omics data and create an open database containing NMs physical and chemical characteristics, biological and omics data for the scientific community in collaboration with the EU Nanosafety Cluster.
• Conduct research and training on biophysical techniques and mathematical models for accurate and fast nanotoxicity prediction linked to safety-by-design concepts for NMs development / production.
• Understand, build and improve the safe by design concept, with a particular demonstration using carbon-based NMs and nanosensors and demonstrate translation across applications and NMs.

Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far

WP 2: Proteomics, genomics/toxicogenomics and bioinformatics. Key instruments for long term assessment of nanotoxicity
Regarding T2.1, an important progress has been done at ICCRAM in adapting methods and fast techniques to assess possible damage caused to the cellular genetic material by nanomaterials (NMs). The obtained results allowed us to define NMs exposure conditions to study the global transcriptional response of S. cerevisiae through RNA sequencing analysis (T2.2). Once the global transcriptional response analysis pipeline is well developed, further studies will be easily performed in a wider array of carbon derived nanomaterials. Additionally, a CNT library with known or measurable physic-chemical characteristics that will represent the testbed in all envisaged toxicology research activities has been developed and toxicology analyses were performed as well, which are still ongoing.
WP2 Lead Beneficiary: UPO

WP 3: Multidisciplinary approaches and tools to understand nanotoxicity
The ICCRAM research team has started to set up a new RAMAN based methodology to analyze the location of nanoparticles and nanomaterials in exposed cells (T3.1). UoB are complementing this analysis activities at ICCRAM with development of Quartz-Crystal microbalance efforts, which are being used to probe the uptake of NMs and the forces involved in this, and the role of the adsorbed biomolecule corona, as well as using single-cell single particle Inductively coupled Plasma mass spectrometry (sc-spICP-MS), which can quantify the amount of NMs in a cell.
Research activities to generate initial data for modelling describing NM-ligand interactions have started as well (T3.3), while activities related to the multiscale modelling of carbon-based NMs and membranes were fullfilled during two secondment periods (April to August, and October 2017) of the NovaM staff members to UBU. MD simulations for GP nano-sheets interacting with lipid membranes that stand for the cell membranes of eukaryotic cells, were prepared.

WP3 Lead Beneficiary: UoB
WP 4: Safe by design production and demo of nanomaterials/products
In terms of carbon based NM`s characterization, works performed in secondments during the first half of the project, involving NTHINX (industrial producer of NM`s), focused on activities towards the ultimate goal of producing a manual of good practices, protocols and steps in the safe by design approach of production of carbon based nanomaterials (T4.1), as well as to begin to generate data that will inform the overall platform for “safe by design” Carbon nanotubes (CNTs). Also, the application of analytical techniques (like like AFM, NTA, STEM / EELS) on CNT`s and GO are giving full inputs needed for design and manufacturing of “safe by design” prototypes. Also, analysis and comparison of in silico models for NMs safety assessment has been initiated (T4.2), as well as the joint activities on developing tools that support the implementation of the Safe-by-Design concept into industrial innovation processes.
Additionally, The ICCRAM team at UBU has started as well to work on the “safe by design” concept by setting up a collection of tests using the model organism S. cerevisiae, as a platform to assess the toxicity of different nanomaterials and contribute to ensure a safe by design concept.
Activities within T4.3 have been performed for the application of the “safe by design” concept to several works and experiments related to the patterning of NMs (like graphene) applied on different flex substrate of polymer materials. For example, patterning of sensitive arrays performed by inkprinting technology on flex substrate like PHOTOCAPR 35521P HLT.
WP4 lead beneficiary: S45

WP5: Policy developments, regulation and standardization
In the valorisation plan, efforts will be made to achieve the best use of the results from the NanoGenTools project and to optimize the transfer of results and knowledge to the interested parties, and EU indus

Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)

NANOGENTOOLS will contribute to foster regulation, discuss standards and validate new fast tests suitable for incorporation into the processes for assessment of the risks of nanotechnology, being in this regard aligned with the strategy research agenda “Nanosafety in Europe 2015-2025: Towards Safe and Sustainable Nanomaterials and Nanotechnology Innovations”
One of the most important goals of the NGT project will be to begin training workers with a high level of knowledge in the area, something necessary for the future of European industry. NGT is expected to have a remarkable impact on the H2020 objectives of Growth and Jobs contributing to the development of nanotechnology (a KET with an impressive potential of jobs creation) ensuring that the promised opportunities from nanotechnologies are achieved in a way that is safe both for our workers and consumers and for our environment.
NGT action provides an outstanding framework for this purpose since the actors involved in the proposal include some of the most relevant players in the definition and the development of nanoEHS (Environment, Health and Safety) science and resulting policies for the aforementioned tasks.

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