WG5 - Toxicity

WG5 - Toxicity of UCNPs

Defining the requirements and providing safety guidelines by assessing the nanotoxicity of UCNMs

The major objectives for the Toxicity of UCNPs working group are the following :


Evaluation of the UCNM interaction with cells

• Life-cell imaging (3–7 days) for the evaluation of UCNM’s uptake, cell division and cell death.

• Comparison with currently used commercial labels for long-term monitoring of cell such as quantum dots.


Cytotoxicity testing

• Evaluation of the cytotoxic and genotoxic potential of UCNMs on relevant cell types, both after short term (24h) and long term (4 weeks) exposure.

Safety Evaluation

• Biosafety of UCNMs will be evaluated by analysis of experimental cytotoxicity data. Available information will be integrated for an effective risk assessment.


Reference materials

• Well characterized highly photoluminescent efficient UCNMs will be used as standards for the biocompatibility evaluations.


The working group achievements :


WG5 Workshop-Training Workshop on Cytotoxicity, 19-22 October 2015, Graz, Austria.



  • Federico Herrera. “Microinjection of flatworms for testing cytotoxicity and behavior of UCNPs in vivo”. Ref. COST-STSM-CM1403-140216-071751.
  • Cynthia Kembuan. “Investigation of the Influence of a Silica Shell on the Cytotoxicity of Upconversion Nanoparticles”. Ref. COST-STSM-CM1403-30002
  • Anna Ekner-Grzyb. “A battery of toxicity tests for the assessment of the biocompatibility of the up-converting nanoparticles”. Ref. COST-STSM-CM1403-30006


Projects-National Funded project (FCT)

  • “Nanoheaters and nanothermometers playing together: towards applications in Brownian motion and hyperthermia” (2016-2019). PTDC/CTM-NAN/4647/2014. Luis Dias Carlos (project coordinator), Helena Oliveira (research team), Federico Herrera (research team)



  • ML Debasu, CDS Brites, S Balabhadra, H Oliveira, J Rocha and LD Carlos. Nanoplatforms for Plasmon-Induced Heating and Thermometry. Chemnanomat, In Press



  • R Letra-Vilela, A C Almeida, J Branco-Santos, A M Rocha, F Herrera. The flatworm Schmidtea mediterranea as an in vivo model for the toxicity of upconverting nanoparticles. UPCON16, Wroclaw.
  • H. Oliveira. Unveiling the biocompatibility of upconverting nanomaterials: finding the best way forward. UPCON16, Wroclaw
  • Toxicological assessment of UCNPs in vitro, Fröhlich E., Meindl C., Leitinger G., Roblegg E., UPCON16, Wroclaw




Dr. Helena Oliveira

Department of Biology, CESAM (Centre for Environmental and Marine Studies) & CICECO (Aveiro Institute of Materials)

University of Aveiro

3810-193 Aveiro, Portugal

Phone : +351 234 247186

Email : holiveira@ua.pt


Dr. Federico Herrera

Cell Structure and Dynamics Laboratory

Instituto de Tecnologia Química e Biológica (ITQB-UNL)

Av. da República, Estação Agronómica Nacional

2781-901 Oeiras, Portugal


Phone: +(351) 21 446 9300

e-mail: fherrera@itqb.unl.pt





COST Action CM1403 (2014-2018)

Chair: dr Hans Gorris (University of Regensburg, Germany)

Vice-Chair: prof.Tero Soukka (University of Turku, Finland)

COST Science Officer: Dr. Lucia Forzi (Bruseels, Belgium)

STSMs Manager: dr hab. Artur Bednarkiewicz (PAS & WCB EIT+, Poland)


info @ ucnp.eu


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