PANDORA project

Probing safety of nano-objects by defining immune responses of environmental organisms

PANDORA is a European Training Network (ETN) funded in the framework of H2020 Marie Skłodowska- Curie ITN programme. The PANDORA network aims at the education of promising young scientists who will learn how to assess the impact of engineered nano-objects (nanoparticles, NP) on the immune and defensive responses of organisms in the environment.


Immunity is a major mechanism for the survival and fitness of practically all living organisms, thus immunosafety of engineered NP is a key element of environmental nanosafety. PANDORA will tackle the issue of global immunological nanosafety by comparing the effects of a selected number of NP of wide application (iron, titanium and cerium oxide) on the immune response of several earth and marine organisms in parallel to human. The highly conserved system of innate immunity/stress response/inflammation will be the focus of PANDORA, as this would allow us to identify common reactivity across immune defence evolution.

The project is based on a profound interaction between the academic and industrial sectors, encompassing academic institutions, research centres, and SMEs, all with proven experience in higher education and training, and endowed with state-of-the art scientific and technical expertise and infrastructures. In this highly multidisciplinary environment, eleven Early Stage Researchers (ESR) will be trained into the issue of immuno-nanosafety. The focus on the effects of NP on the functionality of the immune system, and consequently on the overall health protection of the target organism, will be broadened from the attention to human health to encompass a variety of environmental organisms (plants, invertebrates, marine, earth). The programme will therefore lay the basis for an integrated approach to environmental nanosafety that includes immunosafety as a key element.

By combining the beneficiaries’ expertise in immunology, biochemistry, immunochemistry, cell biology, developmental biology, marine biology, microbiology, molecular biology, pharmacology, toxicology and ecotoxicology, biotechnology, chemistry and nanotechnology together with experience in project management, PANDORA will create a multidisciplinary environment where eleven young researchers will contribute at studying the effects of NP on the immune system responses of environmental organisms. This will allow them to identifying common mechanisms/markers across species that could be used for novel assays for assessing immuno-nanosafety. Concomitantly, they will acquire transferable skills which will lead them to become the new leaders of academic or industrial research.



PANDORA presents a good mixture of scientific objectives coupled to technical objectives, which is considered likely to equip the fellows immediately with eminently marketable skill-sets. Read more



The main objective is to train young scientists to study the interaction between NP and living organisms, with a common focus on the ability to induce or modulate the stress, inflammatory and immune reactivity of the organisms. Read more



The rapid development of nanotechnologies worldwide has fostered intense studies regarding the safety of engineered NP. Read more


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