Namur Nanosafety Center (NNC)
Are nanotechnology products potentially unsafe ?
Nanosciences and nanotechnologies are highly promising areas for research and industrial innovation.
Due to their remarkable properties, nanomaterials (at least one dimension <100nm) are bearing many hopes, notably in materials engineering, in environmental sector and in medecine.
The risk assessment of engineered nanomaterials has become the focus of increasing attention.
To develop safe and sustainable nanotechnologies in Belgium, the Directorate General for Technology, Research and Energy of the Walloon Region trusted The University of Namur to develop in vitro tests for nanoparticle toxicity assessment.
The Namur Nanosafety Center involves several research teams including physicists, chemists, biologists and pharmacists. Each team will fulfil a specific mission in order to obtain an integrated view of nanomaterials physico-chemical properties and interaction with biological systems.
Particularly, the biologists develop new in vitro engineered human tissues, while the pharmacists perform in vivo studies to confirm the results obtained from these in vitro models and therefore assess their scientific relevance.
The chemists and physicists contribute to the characterization of each type of nanoparticles. The physical and chemical properties of nanomaterials depend on their size, shape, surface properties, structure and chemical composition.
New relevant tissue models of reconstituted skin, respiratory epithelium and intestinal epithelium will be developed and validated to assess the toxicity related to nanoparticles using histology, cytotoxicity and genotoxicity tests.
Acute and subchronic toxicity studies will be investigated on animal models using different exposure pathways such as the skin, the respiratory and the intestinal tracts.
Histopathological examinations of several target organs and serum biochemical parameters will be performed to define potential hazard related to nanoparticles. The project depends on cooperation and dialogue, not only across disciplines but also between the scientific community and the public it serves. That is exactly the scope of “Atout Sciences”, the science communication unit of the University of Namur.
Contact : Olivier Toussaint
NARILIS is also a kingpin in the QNano infrastructure.
QNano is a pan-European infrastructure for quality in nanomaterials safety testing.
QNano is a Research Infrastructure for nanosafety assessment. QNano’s core aim is the creation of a ‘neutral’ scientific & technical space in which all stakeholder groups can engage, develop, and share scientific best practice in the field. Initially it will harness resources from across Europe and develop efficient, transparent and effective processes. Thereby it will enable provision of services to its users, and the broader community, all in the context of a best-practice ethos. This will encourage evidence-based dialogue to prosper between all stakeholders. However, QNano will also pro-actively seek to drive, develop and promote the highest quality research and practices via its Joint Research Activities (JRA), Networking Activities (NA) and provision of Transnational Access (TA) functions, with a global perspective and mode of implementation.
QNano TA user visit to UNamur :
- Samuel Levi.