November 18 we will be joined by Dr. Philip Demokritou, Director of the Harvard-NIEHS Nanosafety Research Center and Director of the Center for Nanotechnology and Nanotoxicology at Harvard University’s T. H. Chan School of Public Health, for this month’s SRP Seminar Series. Dr. Demokritou will speak about “Nanotechnology to the Rescue: A chemical free, antimicrobial platform using Engineered Water Nanostructures.”
As always, this seminar is open to the public. Please join us Friday, November 18 at noon in Barus and Holley (184 Hope Street), Room 190.
More about the lecture
Despite advances in public health, infectious diseases continue to affect millions of people, often with serious outcomes. The toll of airborne infectious disease is further complicated through the evolution of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, while the constant antigenic shift of influenza viruses creates difficulties for vaccine development. Similarly, microbial contamination is a leading cause of foodborne illnesses and food waste in the US with the annual cost exceeding 15 billion USD. Control of these infections remains a challenge and currently relies on interventions that have significant shortcomings, including health risks. Air disinfection for the interruption of transmission relies on UV-A radiation, HEPA filtration and biocidal gasses while for food disinfection chemical and thermal methods are widely used and create many inefficiencies and environmental health implications. New, innovative, effective, low cost and most importantly chemical-free, ‘green’ technologies, possessing fewer drawbacks than the existing ones, are urgently in need in the battle against infections.
Recently, a novel nanotechnology-based, chemical free, antimicrobial platform was developed. It relies on the synthesis of Engineered Water Nanostructures (EWNS) using electrospray and ionization of water. These nano-structures possess unique physicochemical and biological properties and have been found to interact and inactivate pathogens through destruction of their cell membrane, on surfaces and in the air. The synthesis and property characterization of EWNS will be presented. Their effectiveness on inactivation of microorganisms on surfaces and air will also be discussed. Applications across the Farm-to-Fork chain for enhanced food safety and quality assurance will be presented. (Disclaimer: Funding for the development and characterization of EWNS platform was provided by the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) and United States Department of Agriculture (USDA))