Dr. Barbara Drasler
Adolphe Merkle Institute, University of Fribourg


Hazard assessment of aerololized graphene-related materials in a 3D human alveolar tissue in vitro


Owing to the promising combination of properties of graphene and related materials, their mass production has considerably increased in the past several years and their products are already arriving on the market-place. In particular, graphene oxide (GO) has been recognized as a promising medical agent for drug delivery, imaging, tissue engineering, as well as in a new generation biosensors. Hence, it is imperative to assess their possible interaction with humans during the life-cycle and their potential hazards; concerns have been raised especially regarding their interaction with the respiratory system. A 3D human lung model, composed of human lung epithelial cells, primary dendritic cells and macrophages, and combined with an aerosolization system, has been used for a simulation of realistic exposures of inhaled materials to the lung epithelial barrier tissue. Our results have shown that the tested GO did not initiate biological response of the human lung model under acute exposure conditions supporting its potential applications as a biomedical agent.


Dr. Barbara joined the BioNanomaterials research group at the Adolphe Merkle Institute, University of Fribourg, Switzerland, as a post-doctoral research fellow in 2016. Prior to this position, she was engaged at the University of Ljubljana, Slovenia, at the Nanobiology and Nanotoxicology research group where she completed the undergraduate biology studies, obtained her PhD in the field of Nanoscience. In January 2017, she obtained a two-year post-doctoral research project grant by the Peter and Traudl Engelhorn Foundation for the advancement of Life Sciences, 2017. Her main research interest has been directed towards the use of nanomaterials in medical field, particularly regarding their inherent safety when intentionally used within such medical applications as well as concerning the occupational hazard of nanomaterials.