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Research Spending & Results

Award Detail

Awardee:FLORIDA INTERNATIONAL UNIVERSITY
Doing Business As Name:Florida International University
PD/PI:
  • Alicia M Boymelgreen
  • (718) 938-4245
  • aboymelg@fiu.edu
Co-PD(s)/co-PI(s):
  • Terence M Bradley
  • Arif Sarwat
Award Date:11/13/2020
Estimated Total Award Amount: $ 397,120
Funds Obligated to Date: $ 397,120
  • FY 2021=$397,120
Start Date:01/01/2021
End Date:12/31/2023
Transaction Type:Grant
Agency:NSF
Awarding Agency Code:4900
Funding Agency Code:4900
CFDA Number:47.041
Primary Program Source:040100 NSF RESEARCH & RELATED ACTIVIT
Award Title or Description:CAS-MNP: Real time analysis of impact of nanoplastics on marine species using AI integrated microfluidics
Federal Award ID Number:2038484
DUNS ID:071298814
Parent DUNS ID:159621697
Program:Nanoscale Interactions Program
Program Officer:
  • Nora Savage
  • (703) 292-7949
  • nosavage@nsf.gov

Awardee Location

Street:11200 SW 8TH ST
City:Miami
State:FL
ZIP:33199-0001
County:Miami
Country:US
Awardee Cong. District:26

Primary Place of Performance

Organization Name:Florida Internationa University
Street:11200 SW 8th Street
City:Miami
State:FL
ZIP:33199-0001
County:Miami
Country:US
Cong. District:26

Abstract at Time of Award

The impact of micro (<5mm) and nano (<100nm) plastic accumulation on marine ecosystems must be quantified to inform sustainable practices ranging from manufacturing and waste processing protocols to the development of nutritional guidelines for marine species consumption. This project will advance the fundamental understanding of the impacts of nanoplastic exposure on the early stage (embryonic and larval) development of marine fish; as these phases are most susceptible, any abnormalities could have far-reaching ramifications for the sustainable future. The present study focuses on mahi-mahi (Coryphaenae hippurus), a commercially and nutritionally important fish species found around the world. Microfluidic technology will be used to closely regulate the simulated marine environment and nanoplastic exposure, while artificial intelligence will be implemented to correlate real time visualization of nanoplastic consumption and fish morphology with environmental conditions – yielding essential data on the factors affecting nanoplastic consumption (e.g., size, concentration, stage of exposure) and the resultant effects on growth and development (e.g., cellular and genetic changes, abnormal organ development, growth retardation, changed feeding patterns). Data dissemination and educational outreach to broad, non-specialized audiences will be conducted at multiple educational levels –including the development of a series of age-appropriate modules titled “Fishing plastics” for Florida International University’s “Engineers on Wheels” program, where students and faculty give hands on demonstrations to students at multiple educational levels. In “Fishing plastic” students will explore pathways through which plastics accumulate in the ocean, the impact on the ecosystem and strategies to minimize transmission. The interdisciplinary nature of the project also offers aquaculture students at the University of Rhode Island and engineers at Florida International University the opportunity to learn one another’s languages and integrate academic research with technology through funding for undergraduate students, undergraduate Capstone projects and a graduate fellowship. Examining environmental impact at the nanoscale is a new paradigm for end-end research into climate-change and pollution where the predominant focus is on macroscale manifestations. This study applies a mechanistic approach to rigorously measure - in situ and in real time – the bioaccumulation of nano plastics as a function of environment (size, concentration) and uptake mechanism (active vs passive) and the resultant developmental changes in fish from the embryonic through larval stages. This approach will inform our fundamental understanding of the relationship between these factors and the role of nano plastics beyond the black and white terms of toxicity and morphology to provide insight into the cellular processes that cause these outcomes. Sensors embedded in microfluidic chambers containing a singly embryo/larvae generate real-time electrochemical data to be correlated with continuous visual measurements of the transparent/semi-transparent fish. Environmental impact will be rigorously categorized using machine learning to establish a relationship between applied conditions (nanoplastic composition/concentration), developmental stage, uptake mechanism (passive respiration/drinking versus active feeding) and visual measurement of bioaccumulation and morphology which will be correlated with continuous measurement of metabolic indicators Oxygen (O2) and total ammonia nitrogen (TAN:NH3/NH4). The implementation of artificial intelligence to correlate multiple data types obtained in real time and in situ is a unique approach which enables a more comprehensive understanding of the environmental impact as well as paving the way for future comparative studies. Data dissemination and educational outreach to broad, non-specialized audiences will be conducted at multiple educational levels –including the development of a series of age-appropriate modules on the environmental impact of plastics for Florida International University’s “Engineers on Wheels” program. The interdisciplinary nature of the project also offers aquaculture students at the University of Rhode Island and engineers at Florida International University the opportunity to collaborate through funding for undergraduate students, Capstone projects focusing on microfluidic system design and sensor integration and a graduate fellowship. This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.

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