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

A Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions Innovative Training Network funded by the EU Horizon 2020 Framework Programme

The Pandora Researchers at their kick-off meeting in Barcelona, 2017




Project Overview

Nanoparticles are sub-microscopic particles, ranging in size from 1 to 100 nm, which are currently used in numerous applications including medicine, cosmetics and textiles. Common nanoparticles used in these industries include zinc, copper, silver and magnesium. Until now, the lasting effects of nanoparticles has remained unclear and their ability to pass into the cytoplasm of cells has triggered the need to investigate their use, and how they may affect living organisms.

The Pandora network aims to investigate the effect of these nanoparticles on the immune and defensive responses of earth and marine organisms in parallel to humans. The aim is to identify common reactivity across immune defence evolution.

This includes collaboration between the academic and industrial sectors, involving research centres, academic institutions and SMEs with experience in further education and training and expertise in the scientific field. This is a multidisciplinary project which will provide training of 11 early-stage researchers into the issue of immuno-nanosafety which will pave the way for an integrated approach to environmental nanosafety.

Beneficiaries involved have expertise in the following fields: 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 which will allow the trainee researchers to identify common mechanisms/markers across species that could be used for novel assays for assessing immune-nanosafety. They will also acquire key transferrable skills which will lead them to become leaders in this emerging field of academic and industrial research.

To read more about the Pandora Project, click the logo below.

AvantiCell’s role

The International Training Network (ITN) Pandora consists of thirteen different partner institutions throughout the EU where 11 ESRs investigate the interaction between NP and living organisms.

Aiming to a combination of academic and commercial outcomes within the Pandora project, the role of AvantiCell Science (ERS 9), is to optimize a panel of cell-based assays (or nano-safety tests) to measure the innate inflammatory response to NPs under analytical conditions and in formats representing industrial prototypes for commercial exploitation.

The research objective is to optimise an Immune-Cryotix assay, that must be translated in a 3D assay format to assess the activation of immune cells after exposure to different kinds of NP, thus producing advanced analytical test plates. In addition, research aims include the investigation of novel materials and methods to capture and present NPs from industrial or environmental sources.

Project update

The isolation and characterisation of human monocyte-derived dendritic cells and macrophages has allowed the definition of standard operating procedures (SOP) for the cryopreservation of monocyte-derived macrophages (M1 and M2) in 96-well plates, with successful recovery of cells from frozen. Gold nanoparticles (AuNPs) of varying size have been analysed for cytokine secretion and surface marker expression. Pandora is progressing well towards the end of it’s second year.


Pandora is a Marie Sklodowska Curie Actions (MSCA)

Innovative Training Network (ITN) funded by the European

Union under the Horizon2020 Framework Programme

(Grant Agreement 671881).