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Nanomaterials Registry Begun for Health, Environment Queries

Michele Ostraat (RTI International)

Michele Ostraat, Nanomaterial Registry principal investigator (RTI International)

RTI International in North Carolina has started the Nanomaterial Registry, a Web-based database and resource of biological and environmental information on materials developed through nanotechnology. The registry, available free to the public, is funded by three agencies of National Institutes of Health: National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, and National Cancer Institute.

The Nanomaterial Registry aims to build a repository of information on nanomaterials collected from existing online public databases. RTI International acts as the curator to assess database entries based on a common set of standards, for physical and chemical characteristics, biological interactions, and environmental interactions. This collection expects over time to develop a broad, detailed ontology that communicates nanomaterial data to the registry’s various stakeholders.

The registry at present draws from three sources:

Nanoparticle Information Library at the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health

Cancer Nanotechnology Laboratory (caNanoLab) portal at National Cancer Institute

InterNano, a service of the National Nanomanufacturing Network

The Nanomaterial Registry also aims to provide authoritative and useable information on the biological and environmental interactions of nanomaterials, particularly for regulatory decision-making. The resource is expected as well to help researchers create new models, standards, and manufacturing methods for nanomaterials, and speed the development and evaluation of nanomaterials for biomedical and environmental applications.

To help make the registry’s information store more useful, the online system provides methods for matching nanomaterial entries by their degree of similarity. Registry users now can find matches with at least 10 percent similarity by clicking a button on any individual entry page.

“The quantity of publicly available literature on nanotechnology is staggering,” says RTI’s Michele Ostraat (pictured at top), the project’s principal investigator. “But until now there has not been a centralized authoritative resource dedicated to nanotechnology research and its implications to biological and environmental systems.”

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