Nanoinformatics workshop report: Current resources, community needs, and the proposal of a collaborative framework for data sharing and information integration
Computational Science & Discovery 11/2013; 6(1):14008. DOI: 10.1088/1749-4699/6/1/014008
The quantity of information on nanomaterial properties and behavior continues to grow rapidly. Without a concerted effort to collect, organize and mine disparate information coming out of current research efforts, the value and effective use of this information will be limited at best. Data will not be translated to knowledge. At worst, erroneous conclusions will be drawn and future research may be misdirected. Nanoinformatics can be a powerful approach to enhance the value of global information in nanoscience and nanotechnology. Much progress has been made through grassroots efforts in nanoinformatics resulting in a multitude of resources and tools for nanoscience researchers. In 2012, the nanoinformatics community believed it was important to critically evaluate and refine currently available nanoinformatics approaches in order to best inform the science and support the future of predictive nanotechnology. The Greener Nano 2012: Nanoinformatics Tools and Resources Workshop brought together informatics groups with materials scientists active in nanoscience research to evaluate and reflect on the tools and resources that have recently emerged in support of predictive nanotechnology. The workshop goals were to establish a better understanding of current nanoinformatics approaches and to clearly define immediate and projected informatics infrastructure needs of the nanotechnology community. The theme of nanotechnology environmental health and safety (nanoEHS) was used to provide real-world, concrete examples on how informatics can be utilized to advance our knowledge and guide nanoscience. The benefit here is that the same properties that impact the performance of products could also be the properties that inform EHS. From a decision management standpoint, the dual use of such data should be considered a priority. Key outcomes include a proposed collaborative framework for data collection, data sharing and information integration.
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ABSTRACT: Engineered nanoparticles (ENPs) are being extensively used in a great variety of application with a pace that is increasingly growing. The evaluation of the biological effects of ENPs is of outmost importance and for that experimental and most recently computational methods have been suggested. In an effort to computationally explore available datasets that will lead to ready-to-use applications we have developed and validated a QNAR model for the prediction of the cellular uptake of nanoparticles in pancreatic cancer cells. Our insilico workflow was made available online through Enalos InSilicoNano platform (http://enalos.insilicotox.com/QNAR_PaCa2/), a web service based solely on open source and freely available software that was developed with the purpose to make our model available to the interested user wishing to generate evidence on potential biological effects in the decision making framework. This web service will facilitate the computer aided nanoparticles design as it can serve as a source of activity prediction for novel nano-structures. To demonstrate the usefulness of the web service we have exploited the whole PubChem database within a virtual screening framework and then used Enalos InSilicoNano platform to identify novel potent nanoparticles from a prioritized list of compounds.
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ABSTRACT: In the last few decades, nanotechnology has been deeply established into human's everyday life with a great number of applications in cosmetics, textiles, electronics, optics, medicine, and many more. Although nanotechnology applications are rapidly increasing, the toxicity of some nanomaterials to living organisms and the environment still remains unknown and needs to be explored. The traditional toxicological evaluation of nanoparticles with the wide range of types, shapes, and sizes often involves expensive and time-consuming procedures. An efficient and cheap alternative is the development and application of predictive computational models using Quantitative Nanostructure-Activity Relationship (QNAR) methods. Towards this goal, researchers are mainly focused on the adverse effects of metal oxides and carbon nanotubes, but to date, QNAR studies are rare mainly because of the limited number of available organized datasets. In this chapter, recent studies for predictive QNAR models for the risk assessment of nanomaterials are reported and the perspectives of computational nanotoxicology that deeply relies on the intense collaboration between experimental and computational scientists are discussed.
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ABSTRACT: The integration of rapid assays, large datasets, informatics, and modeling can overcome current barriers in understanding nanomaterial structure–toxicity relationships by providing a weight-of-the-evidence mechanism to generate hazard rankings for nanomaterials. Here, we present the use of a rapid, low-cost assay to perform screening-level toxicity evaluations of nanomaterials in vivo. Calculated EZ Metric scores, a combined measure of morbidity and mortality in developing embryonic zebrafish, were established at realistic exposure levels and used to develop a hazard ranking of diverse nanomaterial toxicity. Hazard ranking and clustering analysis of 68 diverse nanomaterials revealed distinct patterns of toxicity related to both the core composition and outermost surface chemistry of nanomaterials. The resulting clusters guided the development of a surface chemistry-based model of gold nanoparticle toxicity. Our findings suggest that risk assessments based on the size and core composition of nanomaterials alone may be wholly inappropriate, especially when considering complex engineered nanomaterials. Research should continue to focus on methodologies for determining nanomaterial hazard based on multiple sub-lethal responses following realistic, low-dose exposures, thus increasing the availability of quantitative measures of nanomaterial hazard to support the development of nanoparticle structure–activity relationships. Electronic supplementary material The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s11051-015-3051-0) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
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