Prof. Harald Krug and Dr. Amir Gheisi
EMPA / Springer Nature


From Layman to Scientists: Databases as Source for Knowledge about Nanosafety and Nanotechnology


Nanotechnology and especially nanomaterials conquer the world and the market. New developments and applications come up every day and aside the use of the products more and more the question for the responsibility emerges: where do we go and how safe is it? In this scenario of rapid progress exact and trustworthy information is crucial not only for scientists but also for regulators or laymen. Here several knowledge- and databases are available which try to explain widely different contents. Since 10 years the knowledge base of DaNa (www.nanoobjects.info) informs about nanomaterials and their properties, applications and safety aspects. Additionally, basic and cross-cutting essays give easy-to-read overviews about special topics related to nanomaterials. Another more specialized view on the environmental and health risks of nanomaterials will be delivered by a database on study results of more than one decade between 2000 and 2013. After evaluating more than 3500 datasets an insight into the biological endpoints relevant for nanomaterial activity is presented. Moreover, a relationship between induced key events and adverse outcome pathways in organisms can possibly be associated using these datasets. The third tool called “Nano” (nano.nature.com) is a multidisciplinary research solution that gathers data related to nanotechnology from high impact journals and patents. “Nano” has been designed to be a one-stop solution that will provide detailed information at a glance including synthesis, properties, toxicity and biological effects, characterization methods and application information. Altogether, these tools offer the possibility to everybody to find out more about nanotechnology and nanomaterials.


Prof. Dr. Harald F. Krug is Titular-Professor at the University Berne and a member of the scientific management of Empa since 2007. He studied Chemistry and Biology and received his PhD from the University of Göttingen, Germany. Intensifying the activities on material safety aspects he headed first a lab at Empa and became head of a department and a member of the board of directors in 2010. After founding his own company NanoCASE in 2014 he changed his position and is now managing the international research cooperations at Empa. His research interest is nanosafety.

Dr. Amir Gheisi is the Product Manager for Nanoscience and Technology at Springer Nature Heidelberg. He obtained his Ph.D. from Erlangen-Nürnberg University Germany where his thesis focused on stability and transformation of metal oxide nanocomposites. During his re-search Amir developed a unique synthesis process for production of well-defined metal oxide nanocomposites with controlled composition, structure and size.