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Günter Oberdörster


Günter Oberdörster, DVM, Ph.D., is Professor in the Department of Environmental Medicine at the University of Rochester, Director of the University of Rochester Ultrafine Particle Center, PI of a Multidisciplinary Research Initiative in Nanotoxicology and Head of the Pulmonary Core of the NIEHS Center Grant and CO-PI on an NIH Challenge Grant.  His research includes the effects and underlying mechanisms of lung injury induced by inhaled non-fibrous and fibrous particles, including extrapolation modeling and risk assessment.  His studies with ultrafine particles influenced the field of inhalation toxicology, raising awareness of the unique biokinetics and toxicological potential of nano-sized particles. He earned his D.V.M. and Ph.D. (Pharmacology) from the University of Giessen in Germany.  He has served on many national and international committees and is recipient of several scientific awards.  He is on the editorial boards of the Journal of Aerosol Medicine; Particle & Fibre Toxicology; Nanotoxicology; International J. Hygiene & Environmental Health; and Associate Editor of Environmental Health Perspectives.


Identifying Hazard and Characterizing Risk for Nanomaterials

The increasing use of engineered nanomaterials (ENM) in diverse industrial and biomedical applications has raised equally increasing concerns about their potential to induce adverse health effects.  Indeed, results of numerous studies, in vitro and in vivo, have revealed that ENM can induce significant toxicity.  However, most studies were designed with very high doses/concentrations of ENM, which on the one hand is useful for toxicity (hazard) ranking, but on the other hand gives rise to the perception that all nanomaterials are hazardous.  Little attention appears to be directed at the importance of incorporating exposure and dosimetry-related issues, including dose level, dose rate, dosemetric, ENM biokinetics, in order to characterize the potential risk, which is a fundamental goal of toxicity testing.  A practical approach will be discussed to correlate results of in vitro and in vivo studies and – importantly – emphasize the value of in vivo exposure data so that risk can be assessed on the basis of experimental exposure–dose–response relationships in rodents.  This will be a basis for extrapolation to human exposure scenarios provided species differences in dosimetry are considered.