NanoExplore interview series: Athena Progiou
At NanoTexnology 2022 in Greece, Thessaloniki, Cathrin Cailliau from Yordas interviewed all present NanoExplore partners on their views on the ending project. These interviews are now being published as a series to show the different perspectives of the project members, what has been done in the project and its results.
Who are you?
I'm Athena Progiou. I am the coordinator of the Life NanoExplore EU project and I represent Alcon Consultant Engineers, a company located in Athens, Greece. My main role in the project was to coordinate and monitor the work of the project partners, to develop a web-based platform for the data collected in NanoExplore and to promote networking with stakeholders, policy makers, academia and others.
Why is the NanoExplore project relevant?
The NanoExplore project is interesting in terms of scientific results and ambitions, and policy making, as one of the most important issues we face nowadays is the level of air pollution related to aerosols. The project itself focuses on engineered nanomaterials as pollutants which are part of the bigger problem, but their atmospheric levels and the corresponding impacts are not yet well understood.
What did you find most interesting about the project?
What is very interesting are both the concept and the approach of NanoExplore, as in this project, we have combined exposure assessment and health effects assessment through biomonitoring studies. This is something that has not been done before. Additionally, we have developed a new device, for monitoring nanomaterials levels in the air, and a new software to remotely control the device, along with all the results that were generated in the course of the project. Except for the monitoring data, the results we have produced include biomonitoring data and a harmonised protocol for conducting biomonitoring studies. So, what NanoExplore represents, comprises not only its unique results in the field of the project per se, but in a wider community as well: agencies related to air quality and health at work, as well as regulatory bodies and standardisation agencies.
What is the most important result of NanoExplore in your eyes?
We now have, as I said before, the harmonised protocol, which is a particularly important and innovative outcome. We can apply it in real settings. Furthermore, we are going to disseminate it among relevant agencies, the scientific community and end users in general. It is extremely important to conduct studies through a specific biomonitoring protocol in order to ensure similar and comparable results that are, of course, scientifically based.
How can the results of NanoExplore be used to benefit society?
For sure, this is what we have in mind. We don't need to produce outcomes just for our use as scientists or professionals. The main focus the NanoExplore results will be used on is society, through the project’s outcomes and data. The new knowledge that has been produced focuses on helping society and especially workers and people living in urban areas, where they are exposed to nanomaterials, in having a better quality of life, a better atmospheric quality at work – and so, less diseases/potential health effects.
Check out the news section of our site for the other interviews ("view more"): NanoExplore news section