The nanotoxicology working group studies the human and ecotoxicological risk potential of nanomaterials and develops 3R alternatives to animal experiments, also within the framework of the EU chemicals regulation REACH.

The working group focuses on the following research areas:

  • REACH - Toxicological risk assessment according to international standards
  • Pathways of entry of nanoparticles into the organism
  • Behaviour of nanomaterials in the environment

REACH – Toxicological risk assessment according to international standards
The working group performs standard toxicological tests according to REACH test procedures (EC 440/2008) to assess the toxic potential of nanomaterials, chemicals, new materials and medical devices. The working group supports the development of new materials or products as well as the approval of chemicals and nanomaterials through acute & subchronic toxicity studies according to international standards (ISO, OECD). We offer genotoxicity, carcinogenicity, mutagenicity and cytotoxicity studies (according to ISO 10993-5), vascularisation tests (HET-CAM assay) and immunotoxicological tests. The biological evaluation of (nano)materials is complemented by their physicochemical characterization and analysis of degradation products.
From feasibility studies, via toxicological screenings, concept development for preclinical studies to the development and standardisation of 3R ("replace", "reduce" and "refine") alternatives to animal experiments, the nanotoxicology working group offers all stages of research and development.

Routes of entry into the organism
The nanotoxicology group investigates the interactions of nanomaterials with biological interfaces as well as with organs and barriers in the body. In vitro and ex vivo models for the investigation of the interaction of nanomaterials with air-liquid interfaces (e.g. lung barrier, skin barrier) and liquid-liquid interfaces (e.g. intestinal barrier, blood-brain barrier) are available and will be adapted to the specific questions. Kinetics studies of cellular uptake and accumulation as well as subcellular distribution of nanomaterials are also performed. In addition to the development of new in vitro and ex vivo test systems, we deal with the development and evaluation of miniaturized cultivation units and non-invasive analysis methods for the investigation of nanoparticle-cell interactions down to the single cell level.

Behaviour of nanomateris in the environment
The nanotoxicology working group develops analytical methods for the sensitive determination of the fate and characteristics of nanomaterials in humans and the environment in the low-dose range. The ecotoxicological research focuses on changes in the properties of nanomaterials after their release into the environment and their effect on their biological functionality.


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