The mission of the University of California Center for Environmental Implications of Nanotechnology (UC CEIN) is to use a multidisciplinary approach to conduct research, knowledge acquisition, education and outreach to ensure the responsible use and safe implementation of nanotechnology in the environment. This will enable the USA and International communities to leverage the advantages of nanotechnology to the benefit of the global economy, society and the environment.
This mission is being accomplished by the development of environmental decision making tools that consider the importance of engineered nanomaterial (ENM) physicochemical properties in determining environmental fate, transport, exposure, and hazard generation across a wide spectrum of nano/bio interfaces in cells, bacteria, organisms, communities and ecosystems. The Center makes use of well-characterized compositional and combinatorial ENM libraries to study their fate and transport in parallel with the materials' bioavailability and potential to engage toxicological pathways in organisms and environmental life forms. Where possible, this exploration involves high throughput screening (HTS) to explore structure-activity relationships (SARs) that can be used for prediction making of primary ENMs' impact on organisms in freshwater, seawater, and terrestrial environments. In silico data transformation and decision-making tools are involved in data integration to provide hazard ranking, exposure modeling, risk profiling, and construction of nano-SARs. These research activities are combined with educational and outreach programs that inform the public, students, federal and state agencies, as well as industrial stakeholders of the impact of CEIN’s research on the safe implementation of nanotechnology in the environment.