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Tinkle Represents NIEHS and NIH at Drug Conference

By Eddy Ball
January 2009

Photo of Sally Tinkle, Ph.D., and Rudy Juliano, Ph.D.
NIEHS Senior Science Advisor Sally Tinkle receives a plaque of appreciation from from session chair Rudy Juliano, Ph.D. Juliano is Boshamer Distinguished Professor at UNC-CH, a principal investigator at the Carolina Center of Cancer Nanotechnology Excellence and co-director of the Institute for Nanomedicine. (Photo courtesy of Sally Tinkle)

NIEHS Senior Science Advisor Sally Tinkle, Ph.D., spoke at the Fourth Annual Chapel Hill Drug Conference May 13-14 at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She was the sole NIH representative at the meeting of academic and private sector experts considering "The Use of Nanotechnology to Create Safe and Effective Therapeutic and Diagnostic Products."

Tinkle is the lead representative for NIEHS on trans-NIH, interagency and international nanotechnology and NanoHealth working groups. On May 14, she spoke on "Exploring the Interface Between Nanomedicine and Nanobiology: The NIH/NIEHS Perspective."

As in earlier talks, Tinkle urged her audience to evaluate carefully the impact of nanotechnology and nanomaterials throughout their life cycles, from manufacture through use and disposal, to understand their potential long-term impact on human health. She opened her talk by emphasizing that "NIH is the steward of medical and behavioral research for the U.S." with a responsibility for supporting the pursuit of "knowledge to prevent, detect, diagnose and treat disease and disability."

Tinkle reviewed the concepts of a comprehensive basic and clinical research agenda to understand the impact of exposures along human biochemical pathways and the direction of NIH and NIEHS programs in the areas of naonomaterials and nanotechnology. She pointed to the value of partnerships in such endeavors as the development of enabling technologies, including high-throughput screening in toxicology testing and chemical databases, that will help researchers better understand potentially harmful exposures and how to limit and treat their health effects.

Tinkle appealed to shared interests that bridge disciplines and sectors as they strive to realize the enormous potential of nanotechnology in the areas of medicine, engineering and consumer products. She called for cooperation and partnerships in the effort to integrate human health and ecotoxicology.

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