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Research projects


About this project

Project information

Project status

In progress 2023 - 2024


Andi Alijagic

Research subject

Research environments

NANOSIGN logotype

Billions of various airborne (nano)particles are unintentionally formed and emitted in the additive manufacturing (AM) work environment, however, whether these emissions pose occupational threat and risk for the workers’ health remain still mainly unknown. Even if humans cannot see (nano)particles, we should not neglect their health effects that can be far-reaching. Recent discovery of plastic nanoparticles in human blood (Leslie et al. 2022) confirms that they can penetrate through body barriers and be translocated to different parts of our body, even in the brain (Qi et al. 2022). When (nano)particles reach specific tissues, they interact with cell membranes and further promote internalization. Because of such interactions, nanoparticles influence cells in a number of ways, e.g., by causing alterations of cytoskeleton, by eliciting oxidative stress (Alijagic et al. 2023), by inducing inflammation, and in long-term by leading to development of chronic diseases. In order to perform proactive work and to prevent occupational disaster in AM and outbreak of potential (nano)particle-related health disorders we need to identify early molecular and cellular signatures of toxicity. Therefore, this KK Prospekt22 NANOSIGN project, composed of four work packages (WPs), aims to provide novel knowledge by addressing the following scientific objectives:

1. Core objective of WP 1 is to collect AM (nano)particles and investigate their physicochemical properties, by a range of established and novel analytical methods.

2. Core objective of WP 2 is to evaluate the impact of AM (nano)particles on phenotypic profiles of human alveolar and bronchial cells by Cell Painting assay.

3. Core objective of WP 3 is to identify lipidomic, metabolomic, and transcriptomic biomarkers of the AM (nano)particle exposure by applying omics and in silico tools.

4. Core objective of WP 4 is to collect exhaled air from the AM workers in order to find biomarkers for adverse effects of the lung in relation to AM (nano)particle exposure.

Research funding bodies

  • The Knowledge Foundation