Zeinab started her PhD project at the Department of Biological Sciences of the University of Hull in October 2013. She graduated in 2016.
PhD Supervisors: Prof Jeanette Rotchell (PI), Prof Vesselin Paunov (Co-PI), and Dr Jinping Cheng (Co-PI)
Research project 1: (PhD thesis)
Biological effects of nanomaterials on fish
Nanotechnology raises issues concerning the toxic impact of nanomaterials in organisms. Nanomaterials have been defined as materials whose particles have at least one dimension smaller than 100 nm with variation in terms of their chemical composition and physical dimensions. Typical examples of nanomaterials are: Carbon-based nanoparticles, metal-based nanomaterials, dendrimers and composites that combine nanomaterials with other nanomaterials or bulk-type large materials. The toxicity of nanomaterials has been an important question in environmental and medical research. The available data on nanotoxicity are still fragmentary but show that some types of nanoparticles can cross biological membrane barriers under some conditions, and if raw nanomaterials reach the organs, they can induce harmful effects such as inflammatory and fibrotic reactions. Most nanoparticle-based products ultimately enter the aquatic environment post use, and influence both human and wildlife health. However, the toxicity of nanoparticles and their specific biological effects in aquatic species, including fish, have not been fully characterised. It is important to develop early warning tools of nanomaterial-induced biological effects or ‘molecular biomarkers’ for aquatic species, to be able to monitor any impacts. In this project, zebrafish (Danio rerio) embryos have been experimentally exposed in vitro to a range of nanoparticles at different concentrations. Five specific genes, are employed for gene expression analysis. Furthermore, a global approach employing the Suppression Subtractive Hybridization (SSH) approach are employing to identify novel genes that are impacted by nanoparticles not previously identified in the scientific literature. SSH is a powerful technique to compare two populations of mRNA and genes that are expressed differently. The aim of this part of work is global, non-targeted approach to determine novel genes that may be involved in the fish embryo response to specific exposure to nanoparticles.