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Valentina Ricottone (HWU)

Valentina Ricottone


Valentina is a PhD student in the School of Life Scences at HWU

Project title: Ecotoxicity of selected nanomaterials to benthic freshwater invertebrates

Funding: EC FP7 Project SUN

Supervisors: Prof Teresa Fernanades, Dr Ted Henry, Prof Vicki Stone

Over the past decade the continuous progress in the research of nanotechnologies has brought an increase in the use of nanomaterials (NMs) in many industrial, medical and consumer applications. Despite nanotechnology still being a developing area, today nanomaterials can be found in products used in our daily lives.

Nanotechnology is recognised as a discipline in itself, because at the nanometre scale (between 1 nm and 100 nm) material commonly used can express novel properties totally different from their macroscopic counterparts; determining probably greater toxicity. For this reason, many studies have begun to identify potential risks to human health, ecosystems and organisms due the unintentional release of NMs into the environment. NMs themselves or their possible synergistic effects with other chemicals may pose a risk to human health and the environment.

This research project is funded by the European FP7 project SUN “Sustainable Nanotechnologies” which aims to address the entire lifecycle of nanotechnologies to ensure ample nanosafety evaluation and incorporate the results into tools and guidelines for sustainable manufacturing, easily accessible by industries, regulators and other stakeholders. This PhD will focus on contamination of aquatic benthic systems by studying the effects of selected nanomaterials on standard model test organisms, the worm Lumbriculus variegatus and the snail Lymnaea stagnalis.

Based on an array of single species test systems using repeated dose exposures scenarios; multiple endpoints such mortality, behaviour and reproduction, and biomarkers such as DNA damage, metallothionein and heat shock proteins gene expression will be investigated.