An Overview of Environmental Health and Safety Research at the Center for High-rate Nanomanufacturing

Jackie Isaacs
Wednesday, February 9, 2011
1:30 - 3:00 PM
CNS Conference Room, Girvetz 2620
Jackie Isaacs

Professor in Mechanical Engineering

Associate Director, Center for High-rate Nanomanufacturing (NSEC)

Northeastern University

Abstract:  The NSF-funded Nanoscale Science and Engineering Center for High-rate Nanomanufacturing (CHN) at Northeastern University is a collaborative center with core research partners at the University of Massachusetts Lowell and the University of New Hampshire. Research falls into three categories: 1) Large scale directed assembly & transfer, 2) Environmental health & safety, and 3) Regulatory & ethical issues. Over the past six years, CHN research undertaken in IRG 4 “Responsible Nanomanufacturing” has begun to address some of the key issue related to responsible commercialization of emerging nanoprocesses and products. The objectives of IRG 4 have direct implications for the nanomanufacturing technologies under development at CHN, and aim to guide the overall development of sustainable production systems for nanomanufactured products.

An overview of the CHN technologies under development will be presented, followed by summaries of our six IRG 4 research projects that have goals to: 1) ensure that students, faculty, and staff working in the various CHN laboratories are using best-practice industrial hygiene, especially directed towards inhalation hazards of nanomaterials, and perform fundamental research on methods to measure and control nanoparticles exposures; 2) develop innovative methods for high-rate toxicity screening of nanoparticles; 3) assess the current regulatory capacity and expected needs in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts for commercial production; 4) evaluate applications of nanotechnology on their likelihood to promote or compromise environmental values, such as ecological integrity, biodiversity, environmental justice; 5) create methodologies to determine the economic feasibility of manufacturing in light of potential environmental consequences for scale-up of technologies; and 6) explore the repercussions of emissions to the aqueous environment.


Jacqueline A. Isaacs is a Professor in the Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering at Northeastern University and an Associate Director of the Center for High-rate Nanomanufacturing (CHN) – a collaborative partnership among Northeastern University, the University of Massachusetts Lowell and the University of New Hampshire. She leads the Responsible Manufacturing Research Thrust for the CHN.  Her specific research focuses on economic and environmental assessment of manufacturing processes, most recently focused on nanomanufacturing. At CHN, her research group works on Life Cycle Assessment of various processes under development and assesses alternatives to uncover more environmentally benign processes or products. This work was initiated with an NSF grant to explore and compare process alternatives for the manufacture of carbon nanotubes. Her 1998 NSF Career Award was one of the first that focused on environmentally benign manufacturing. Dr. Isaacs also guides research on development and assessment of educational computer games. She received a B.S. from Carnegie Mellon University and S.M and Sc.D. degrees in Materials Science and Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She has been recognized by Northeastern University, receiving the President’s Aspiration Award in 2005 and a University-wide Excellence in Teaching Award in 2000.