Date of Award


Degree Name

Biomedical Sciences


Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine

Type of Degree


Document Type


First Advisor

Eric Blough

Second Advisor

Philippe Georgel

Third Advisor

Todd Green


Assessing the toxicity and unique reactivity of nanoparticles in biological systems has become an relevant and quickly growing area of environmental toxicology research. The broad use of nanoparticles in industrial and commercial commodities results in exposure of these nano-compounds to the environment, the ecosystems, and humans. While previous data has suggested that cerium oxide (CeO2) nanoparticles are relatively safe to cultured cells much less is known about the potential toxicity of these materials at the organismal level. In this study we employed transgenic Caenorhabditis elegans (C. elegans) strains to assess the toxicity of CeO2 nanoparticles under “real-world” conditions. Our findings indicate that while exposure to aggregated CeO2 in C. elegans has no effect on average life span, it is associated with decreases in nematode body length, progeny count, and increased organismal stress. These findings demonstrate that exposure to aggregated CeO2 particles (0-17.21 ug/mL) may be associated with diminished organismal fitness in C. elegans.


Cerium oxides.

Oxidative stress.

Biological monitoring.