Collegium Helveticum
Fellow Project 2023–2024

Investigating How Nanoplastic Pollution Affects Human Cells

Although it is well-known that particles from plastic waste are found in all organs of the human body, including the placenta and the bloodstream, little is known about how they affect human cell membranes. Learning how plastics disrupt this protective barrier will allow us to understand how nanoplastics are toxic to human life and what effect they might have on human health.

During her fellowship, Katherine will start to build customizable human-mimetic artificial cells and tissues on a chip the size of a postage stamp. Her aim is to investigate how plastics that mimic those found in the environment interact with model cell membranes and what effect they have on the movement of drug molecules through the cell membrane.