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Dr. Stacey Harper wins ONES award

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One of SNNI's faculty members, Dr. Stacey Harper (Oregon State University) has received a five-year, $1.9 million award as an Outstanding New Environmental Scientist (ONES) from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS).  This is a highly competitive and prestigious award given to only a few of the most promising new faculty investigators.

Stacey HarperDr. Harper is developing one of the nation’s leading programs to test the safety of compounds created through nanotechnology. The funding will allow Harper to continue and expand her initiatives to help ensure that the useful products of nanotechnology in medicine, industry, chemical engineering and other fields are also safe.

“The majority of nanotech compounds we have tested have been absolutely benign, but the field is so important and growing so quickly that we have to make sure nothing we produce is toxic,” Harper said.

“We’re developing methods that can predict what nanomaterials might do, based on their structure and makeup,” she said. “Ultimately, the goal is to design them specifically for safety, along with their other intended uses. Our industrial partners share this goal and have been very cooperative.”

Nanomaterials are extraordinarily small particles that, because of their size, shape and makeup, may have unique properties of value in new consumer products or medicines. They are not all inherently toxic, but some can be, and Dr. Harper’s program is aimed at understanding the difference.

The programs at OSU will develop rapid testing strategies, structural relationships that can help predict possible concerns, learn more about mechanisms of toxicity, develop safety protocols and create other new tools to help protect both humans and the environment as this field of research expands.

Dr. Harper is an assistant professor in the Department of Environmental and Molecular Toxicology in the College of Agricultural Sciences.  She is also on the faculty of the School of Chemical, Biological and Environmental Engineering in the College of Engineering at OSU, and a member of OSU’s Environmental Health Sciences Center.  She is a signature research faculty fellow in the Oregon Nanoscience and Microtechnologies Institute (ONAMI) and  funded through SNNI.

Contact: Stacey Harper, 541-737-2791 or Stacey.harper@oregonstate.edu
 

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