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Demokritou, a leader in nanoparticle and toxicology research, joins Rutgers from Harvard

Philip Demokritou –  a leader in environmental and health and safety research at Harvard University – will join Rutgers University as the Henry Rutgers Chair in Nanoscience and Environmental Bioengineering at the Rutgers School of Public Health and Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences Institute.

Demokritou
Demokritou’s research focuses on the health effects of environmental pollutants due to nanomaterials and nanotechnology applications that are being used to treat disease and prevent health issues.

Demokritou will be a resident faculty member at the Environmental an Occupational Health Sciences Institute and serve as the director of the Division of Exposure Science and Epidemiology. He will also be the vice chair of the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health and Justice at the Rutgers School of Public Health and hold a courtesy appointment at the Rutgers School of Engineering.

“I look forward to serving the Rutgers community as an educator, researcher and innovator,” says Demokritou. “The Rutgers School of Public Health and Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences Institute have been leading the way in safeguarding public health and are well positioned to lead university-wide human centered initiatives to solve complex public health and environmental problems with scientific, technological, human, and societal dimensions.  This is a great time for public and environmental health research.”

Demokritou is joining Rutgers from the Harvard T.H Chan School of Public Health, where he serves as associate professor and director of the Center for Nanotechnology and Nanotoxicology.

His research focuses on the health effects of environmental pollutants due to nanomaterials, used to manufacture everything from textiles to cosmetics, and nanotechnology applications that are being used to treat disease and prevent health issues. Demokritou is devoted to understanding, manipulating and applying engineered nanoparticles in order to maximize innovation and growth while minimizing environmental and public health risks.

Demokritou is also researching COVID-19 nanotechnology interventions, funded by the National Science Foundation, that can minimize the risk of airborne infection that could prevent indoor transmission.

“We are excited to welcome Philp Demokritou to Rutgers University. As Henry Rutgers Chair in Nanoscience and Environmental Bioengineering, he will build on a strong foundation in nanoparticle and toxicology expertise at EOSHI and enhance Rutgers’ already robust contributions to understanding SARS-CoV-2 as an airborne pathogen and improving the safety of our indoor spaces,” said Brian L. Strom, chancellor of Rutgers Biomedical Health Sciences.

Demokritou has been recognized by professional societies for his outstanding leadership and contributions in his field as an educator, researcher and innovator. His National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences-funded Center for Nanotechnology and Nanotoxicology will accompany him to Rutgers, becoming the nucleus of a new nano- and advanced materials interdisciplinary research initiative across the university to tackle major public health challenges of the 21st century. The center will bring together stakeholders from industry, academia, government, and the general public to maximize innovation and growth and minimize environmental and public health risks from nano and other emerging materials.

Dr. Demokritou's modern approach to environmental health will advance both the scholarship and pedagogy and will serve as model for working with our local, national, and global collaborators including those in our homeland of Greece,” says Perry N. Halkitis, dean of the Rutgers School of Public Health.

His international efforts are global in scope: He serves on scientific advisory boards of major nanosafety research consortia in Europe and is currently the Founding Program Director for the Harvard-Nanyang Technological University/Singapore Sustainable Nanotechnology which focuses on responsible development of nano and advanced materials to tackle major global public health challenges in the areas of agriculture and food systems. He was also the Founding Director of the Harvard-Cyprus International Institute for the Environment and Public Health from 2005-2008 and participated in the development of graduate-level degree programs in the area of environmental health.

“We are absolutely delighted that Dr. Demokritou will be joining Rutgers and the Environmental an Occupational Health Sciences Institute, where he will direct and shape the future of the Division of Exposure Science and Epidemiology,” says Helmut Zarbl, director of the Environmental an Occupational Health Sciences Institute. “Dr. Demokritou is an outstanding, internationally recognized and highly collaborative researcher and innovator who continues to make exciting new discoveries that advance multiple areas of environmental health research and scholarship. He will also help invigorate and generate additional interest among students in the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health and Justice at the Rutgers School of Public Health.”