Building bridges between specialists on computational and empirical risk assessment of engineered nanomaterials

Celina Sikorska (UG) in National Institute for Environmental Studies (NIES) in Tsukuba

CSikorska_fotFrom 17th November to 30th December 2014 I was seconded to National Institute for Environmental Sciences (NIES) in Tsukuba, Japan, within the NanoBRIDGES project. During this 1.5 month period I was fulfilling the WP4: Development of novel Nano-QSAR methodologies. I was hosted by fate modeling specialist – Dr. Noriyuki Suzuki and his group.

The aim of the internship at National Institute for Environmental Sciences (NIES) was to fulfill the tasks of NanoBRIDGE project (i.e. WP4 task). The main task during cooperation with NIES researchers was to learn fate modeling techniques along with the methods of their proper validation. This knowledge will allow in the future to design an integral approach in order to characterize the environmental behavior and threats caused by nanomaterials, and allow their better and more precise classification, with less labor input during screening process.

Throughout the whole period of the internship, the theory of fate modeling was constantly introduced to me. Hosting researchers explained me the exact purpose of using such models (fate models), and the course of conducting simulations with their use. They explained the structural differences between specific models which is the consequence of their different purpose. They clarified the modeling process for me, explained the mathematical mechanisms used widely in fate modeling and introduced the main rules of models validation process. They also explained, how to collect and preprocess accurate data for modeling.

In the next step, ecotoxic effects of nanomaterials on a aquatic organism were introduced. On this step I was thought dynamic light scattering techniques and their usefulness in aquatic ecotoxicology studies to measure the diameter as well as dispersion distribution of nanomaterials. I got familiar with different algorithms of measuring and analyzing nanodispersions under various conditions along with their proper interpretation. This gave me an opportunity to understand the toxicity and behavior of emerging nanoparticles and will allow establishing relations between experimental (based on available, validated data) and computational properties.

Although the time of an intern was only one month, I achieved most of the goals I planned. I enlarged my knowledge about fate modeling and possessed skills and experience essential to use some of the existing modeling tools.

Secondment at NIES was a great opportunity, not only to broaden my scientific horizons, but also to meet fantastic, inspiring people, full of passion and dedication. Besides the priceless academic experience I gained in Japan, I also returned with a lot of fantastic memories from this beautiful country.

I would like to submit my the warmest thanks to Dr Suzuki and his group for all the help and for caused that this internship even more wonderful.


University of Gdansk
Faculty of Chemistry
ul. Wita Stwosza 63
80-952 Gdansk

European Commision