Conference Brings Together Interdisciplinary Views on Nanotechnology to Promote Sustainable Applications

The Second Sustainable Nanotechnology Organization Conference took place at Santa Barbara on Sunday, November 3 to Tuesday, November 5. The conference brought together experts on the subject of nanotechnology and sustainability to address life cycle assessment, green synthesis, green energy, industrial partnerships, environmental health and safety, and the overall sustainability of engineered nanomaterial.  The purpose of the Sustainable Nanotechnology Organization “is to provide a professional society forum to advance knowledge in all aspects of sustainable nanotechnology, including both applications and implications.” The conference focused on the interdisciplinary nature of nanotechnology, offering perspectives on the benefits that the emerging technology offers to society, and the potential tools and methods to assess and prevent negative implications of the technology.

Elizabeth Beryt, Nanotechnology Policy and Law Fellow at the Luskin Center for Innovation and the UC Center for Environmental Implications of Nanotechnology (UC CEIN), presented at the conference. Elizabeth Beryt presented on the possible application of alternative toxicity testing strategies that rely on mechanistic based cellular methods instead of whole animal testing.  The state of the science and the agency’s judgment determines whether a specific test can be applied for screening purposes, risk assessment purposes, or comparison purposes to assist a regulatory agency in making decisions. Elizabeth focused on Toxic Substances Control Act and the possible application of mechanistic based methods and models as evidence to require companies to conduct toxicity testing.

The conference included heavy participation by Luskin Center partners from the UC CEIN. Arturo Keller, UC CEIN Associate Director, was the conference chair and helped co-organize the conference that focused on the critical aspect of sustainable nanotechnology.  Andre Nel, UC CEIN Director, was a plenary speaker at the conference and presented on the “Biomedicine Applications of Nanotechnology towards Sustainable Public Health.” Tim Malloy moderated the session on ‘Law and Policy’ and Hilary Godwin moderated the session on ‘Nano Risk’.   UCLA CEIN researcher Ruibin Li was awarded the Best Poster prize at the 2013 Sustainable Nanotechnology Organization (SNO) Conference.