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Center for the Environmental Implications of NanoTechnology

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Center for Environmental Implications of Nanotechnology  (Duke University)

Research Focus & Anticipated Benefits

The Center for the Environmental Implications of NanoTechnology (CEINT) is elucidating the relationship between a vast array of nanomaterials— from natural, to manufactured, to those produced incidentally by human activities— and their potential environmental exposure, biological effects, and ecological consequences. Headquartered at Duke University, CEINT is a collaboration between Duke, Carnegie Mellon University, Howard University, Virginia Tech, the University of Kentucky, and Stanford University. CEINT academic collaborations in the US also include on-going activities coordinated with faculty at Clemson, North Carolina State, Rice, UCLA and North Carolina Central universities, with researchers at National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) labs, and with key international partners.

Created in 2008 with funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF) and EPA, CEINT performs fundamental research on the behavior of nano-scale materials in laboratory and complex ecosystems. Research includes all aspects of nanomaterial transport, fate and exposure, as well as ecotoxicological and ecosystem impacts. CEINT is developing risk assessment models to provide guidance in assessing existing and future concerns surrounding the environmental implications of nanomaterials.

Education & Outreach

CEINT educational outreach includes innovative high-school curricula development leveraging “Nano2Earth”, a program that uses nanoscience as a vehicle to transform curricula into an interdisciplinary approach to molecular biology, geochemistry, physics, chemistry, mathematics and ecology and encourages pre-college students to pursue studies in science and engineering.

CEINT is collaborating with the N.C. Museum of Life and Science (MLS) in Durham, NC on educational initiatives to increase public understanding of nano-scale science as well as to enhance public awareness of the importance of risk assessment for responsible development of nano-materials. Our partnership leverages the Nanoscale Informal Science Education Network (NISE Net) program with the goal of creating educational materials and activities on environmental implications of nanotechnology.

Outreach to undergraduate students includes an NSF-funded Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program each summer. Students from Engineering, Biology, Chemistry, Ecotoxicology, Geosciences, Physics and related fields have the chance to conduct research in CEINT laboratories with direct faculty supervision.

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Related Institutions

Carnegie Mellon University
Clemson University
Duke University
Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC), U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Environmental Molecular Science Laboratory (EMSL), Department of Energy
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
Howard University
National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)
North Carolina Central University
North Carolina State University
Rice University
Stanford University
University of California, Los Angeles
University of Kentucky
Virginia Tech


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