Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Department of Systems Engineering and Management

First Advisor

Michael L. Shelley, PhD


The same novel properties of engineered nanoparticles that make them attractive may also present unique exposure risks. But, the traditional physiologically-based pharmacokinetic (PBPK) modeling assumption of instantaneous equilibration likely does not apply to nanoparticles. This simulation-based research begins with development of a model that includes diffusion, active transport, and carrier mediated transport. An eigenvalue analysis methodology was developed to examine model behavior to focus future research. Simulations using the physicochemical properties of size, shape, surface coating, and surface charge were performed and an equation was determined which estimates area under the curve for arterial blood concentration, which is a surrogate of nanoparticle dose. Results show that the cellular transport processes modeled in this research greatly affect the biokinetics of nanoparticles. Evidence suggests that the equation used to estimate area under the curve for arterial blood concentration can be written in terms of nanoparticle size only. The new paradigm established by this research leverages traditional in vitro, in vivo, and PBPK modeling, but includes area under the curve to bridge animal testing results to humans. This new paradigm allows toxicologists and policymakers to then assess risk to a given exposure and assist in setting appropriate exposure limits for nanoparticles. This research provides critical understanding of nanoparticle biokinetics and allows estimation of total exposure at any toxicological endpoint in the body. This effort is a significant contribution as it highlights future research needs and demonstrates how modeling can be used as a tool to advance nanoparticle risk assessment.

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