Nano-Bio Interactions and Cytotoxicity Origins of Graphene on Human Cells

Graphene is a single-atom-thick sheet of conjugated sp2 bond carbon atoms, which has found wide range of applications ranging from solar cells (Ng et al., 2010), bioelectronics to biosensors (Mohaty et al., 2008). The extensive use of graphene, which often involves direct human contacts, demands elucidation on the potential adverse implications, or in other words its toxicity effects on human cells. The project focuses on the investigations of fundamental interactions of graphene with human cells, towards elucidation of the toxicity origins of graphene. The project seeks to identify stimulation of cellular oxidative stress and target ROS (reactive oxygen species) destruction sites, in correlation to the induced cell damages and even cell death (Gunawan et al., 2011; 2013a; 2013b; 2013c). The project also seeks to detect and characterise the formation of protein layers on the surface of graphene, which significantly affects the biological fates of the particles and the resulting toxicity effects. Upon presentation to cells, the cells ‘see’  and response to ‘graphene along with the protein layers’ rather than just to ‘bare’ graphene.

Nanobio interactions

Particle-stimulated generation of intracellular ROS and the resulting cell death (Gunawan et al., 2013a; 2013c)

on human cells. The project focuses on the investigations of fundamental interactions of graphene with human cells, towards elucidation of the toxicity origins of graphene. The project seeks to identify stimulation of cellular oxidative stress and target ROS (reactive oxygen species) destruction sites, in correlation to the induced cell damages and even cell death (Gunawan et al., 2011; 2013a; 2013b; 2013c). The project also seeks to detect and characterise the formation of protein layers on the surface of graphene, which significantly affects the biological fates of the particles and the resulting toxicity effects. Upon presentation to cells, the cells ‘see’  and response to ‘graphene along with the protein layers’ rather than just to ‘bare’ graphene.

The work is expected to shed lights on the currently unclear fundamental interactions of nanomaterials with biological entities. The findings will greatly contribute to the better understanding on the toxicity of nanoparticles, and therefore its implication on human health, and the environment.

Student undertaking this project will be working within the Particle and Catalysis Research Group supervised by Prof Rose Amal and Dr Cindy Gunawan (UTS) and Dr Chris Marquis. The project is carried out in collaboration with the School of Biotechnology and Biomolecular Sciences. For more details, please contact Professor Rose Amal: r.amal@unsw.edu.au 

 

References

  1. Ng, Y. H., Iwase, A., Kudo, A., Amal, R. J. Phys. Chem. Lett. (2010) 1, 2607-2612.
  2. Mohanty, N., Berry, V. Nano Lett. (2008) 8, 4469-4476.
  3. Gunawan, C., Teoh, W. Y., Marquis, C. P., Amal, R. ACS Nano (2011) 5, 7214-7225.
  4. Gunawan, C., Teoh, W. Y., Marquis, C. P., Amal, R. Small (2013a) DOI: 10.1002/smll.201300761
  5. Gunawan, C., Ricardo, Teoh, W. Y., Marquis, C. P., Amal, R. PARTICLE and Particle Systems Characterization (2013b) 30, 375-380.
  6. Gunawan, C., Sirimanoonphan, A., Teoh, W. Y., Marquis, C. P., Amal, R. J. Hazard. Mater. (2013c) 260, 984-992.