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Effect of nanomaterials in a songbird

Project Full Title:

Effect of nanomaterials in auditory and visual processing in the house sparrow.

Project Mentor(s):

Gonzalez-Pech,Natalia; Ronald,Kelly

Project Mentor(s) EMail:;

Project Start Date:


Project End Date:


Project Description:

This interdisciplinary project will incorporate the disciplines of Biology, Neuroscience, Psychology, Chemistry and Materials Science. However the project is specifically housed within the Hope College Department of Biology. There is great concern regarding the adverse health implications of engineered nanoparticles. However, there are many circumstances where the production of incidental nanoparticles, i.e., nanoparticles unintentionally generated as a side product of some anthropogenic process, is of even greater concern. These nanoparticles can transport through the respiratory system and translocate to other organs, including the brain. The health implications of this transport has been study in in-vitro systems and animals models like mice, but never in birds. Birds should be an interesting model as they can be more exposed to the incidental nanoparticles present in air. This project will examine both the visual and auditory sensory processing of the song bird the house sparrow (passer domesticus). House sparrows frequently occupy a variety of human dominated environments and therefore span the gradient of noise and light pollution areas.

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