So overuse of nanosilver products, especially outside of clinical environments, could pose a danger to needed microorganisms, and enable resistant strains to flourish.
"Under most conditions, the preservation of microbial biodiversity is a benefit," explains Eggleson.
"In fact, those who would use these potent new antimicrobial technologies for frivolous uses, such as for odor control, work directly against the U.S. National Nanotechnology Initiative's goal of responsible nanotechnology development."
Eggleson came to the Center for Nano Science and Technology last year to study and prompt discussion of problems like these.
"NDnano is expanding its scope into studies of the societal impact of nanotechnology," explains Wolfgang Porod, Frank M. Freimann Professor of Electrical Engineering at Notre Dame and director of the center. "This is the background for bringing Kathy on board."
To facilitate such discussion, Eggleson initiated a monthly meeting group, called the Nano Impacts Intellectual Community, which brings together Notre Dame researchers from across campus, visiting scholars and authors from outside the university, and leaders from the local area to probe nanotechnology topics in depth.
The group has tackled such issues as the ethics of nanomedicine, the commercialization of nanotechnology products, and the interdisciplinary nature of nanotechnology research.
"I appreciate being a part of this on-going conversation," says Glenn Killoren, an attorney at Barnes & Thornburg LLP and a regular Nano Impacts attendee. "Nanotechnology isn't just something that happens in research labs anymore. It's a small but growing part of our lives, and both scientists and non-scientists need to think about its effects."
Eggleson and NDnano faculty have also met with a number of local middle school and high school teachers who featu
|Contact: Kathleen Eggleson|
University of Notre Dame