Nastassja A. Lewinski, Ph.D. profile photo

Nastassja A. Lewinski, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, Department of Chemical and Life Science Engineering

Engineering West Hall, Room 438, Richmond, VA, UNITED STATES

(804) 828-0452 nalewinski@vcu.edu

Dr. Lewinski's research topics include nanomaterial toxicity, nanomedicine, and nanoinformatics.

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Biography

Nastassja Lewinski is currently an Assistant Professor of Chemical and Life Science Engineering at Virginia Commonwealth University. She holds a Ph.D. in Bioengineering and a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from Rice University. Dr. Lewinski has focused her career on integrating biological and environmental compatibility into the design process of engineered nanomaterials. Her research areas include nanotoxicology, nanoinformatics, and sustainable nanotechnology. Her projects over the past three years were supported through industry and VCU sponsorship. She has received numerous prestigious awards and fellowships including the AIChE 35 Under 35 Award in 2017, Leenaards Nested Research Projects Award in 2014, Whitaker International Scholar Award in 2011, NSF Graduate Research Fellowship in 2008, Barry Goldwater Scholarship in 2005, and she is a member of both Tau Beta Pi and Phi Lambda Upsilon. Dr. Lewinski has authored and co-authored 25 peer-reviewed journal articles, 5 book chapters, and 1 provisional patent. She currently advises 1 Ph.D. student and 1 M.S. student as well as 12 undergraduate students under VIP and capstone projects.

Industry Expertise

  • Nanotechnology
  • Education/Learning
  • Research

Areas of Expertise

Nanomaterial toxicityNanoinformaticsNanomedicineAdvanced in vitro exposure systemsComparative in vitro – in vivo analyses

Accomplishments

AIChE 35 Under 35 Awardee | professional

2017

Leenaards Nested Research Projects Prix Awardee | professional

2014

Whitaker International Scholar | professional

2011

NSF Graduate Research Fellow | professional

2008

Barry Goldwater Scholar | professional

2005

Education

Institute for Work and Health, Lausanne, Switzerland

Postdoctoral

2014

Rice University

Ph.D., Bioengineering

2011

Rice University

B.S., Chemical Engineering

2006

Affiliations

  • Research Member, Center for Pharmaceutical Engineering and Sciences
  • Fellow, Center for Risk Management of Engineering Systems, University of Virginia
  • Section Editor, Drug and Chemical Toxicology

Media Appearances

AIChE 35 Under 35: Safety

American Institute of Chemical Engineering (AIChE)  online

2017-09-14

Nastassja is an assistant professor of chemical and life science engineering at Virginia Commonwealth University. She serves as faculty advisor to the student chapter and is the VCU faculty representative in the Tidewater Virginia Local Section. Nastassja is also active in the Sustainable Engineering Forum. Among her awards are the Leenaards Nested Research Projects Prix (2014), a NNEMS Fellowship with the U.S. EPA (2008), and an NSF Graduate Fellowship (2008). AIChE YPC: What inspired you to pursue chemical engineering? Nastassja Lewinski: I chose to pursue chemical engineering because it encompasses my lifelong interests in chemistry and math. AIChE YPC: Chemical engineering is a diverse field. How did you get involved in your specialty? NL: During my studies, several people reinforced my interest in nanotechnology and safety by design. My Ph.D. advisor, Rebekah Drezek, cultivated my interest in nanomedicine. The WISE program sponsored by AIChE and my advisor, Dave Gushee, encouraged my engagement in science policy. Vicki Colvin and Kristen Kulinowski drew my attention to aquatic toxicology and industrial hygiene. AIChE YPC: What professional achievement are you most proud of? NL: My postdoctoral fellowship in Lausanne, Switzerland, provided the opportunity not only to collaborate with fellow researchers in the institute who spoke English, but also work with non-English speaking staff. I learned how people outside the United States conduct research and how to work in a non-English speaking environment professionally. AIChE YPC: What is the most challenging part of your job? NL: The most challenging part of being a university professor is balancing research and teaching. Besides advancing my own research program, motivating and supporting both the students in my lab and also the students in my courses consumes a good portion of my time.

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Patents

Portable in vitro exposure cassette (PIVEC)

62/490,751

Courses

CLSE 202: Chemical Engineering Fundamentals II: Energy Balances and Engineering Thermodynamics

Spring 2018, 2019

CLSE 305: Thermodynamics of Phase Equilibria and Chemical Reactions

Fall 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 This course provides the foundation needed to solve sophisticated problems encountered in thermodynamics and unit operations. Students are introduced to the mathematical relationships and thermodynamic models needed to describe pure component and mixture phase behavior. These models include equations of state, liquid solution activity coefficient models, and fugacity estimation techniques. Numerous phase equilibrium problems are addressed including liquid-vapor, liquid-liquid, liquid-liquid-vapor, and solid-vapor equilibria. The prediction of chemical equilibrium is also covered in this course.

ENGR 497: Vertically Integrated Project - Nanoinformatics

Fall 2017 - present The VIP Nanoinformatics team will participate in cutting-edge research in machine learning and nanomedicine design. This includes the development of multiple natural language processing tools that use complex algorithms and artificial intelligence techniques to retrieve nanomedicine texts from the primary literature, classify the texts into topics, extract relevant entities on nanomedicine, and extract relationships between entities, to name a few. Students also have the opportunity to gain hands on laboratory experience in nanoparticle synthesis, physico-chemical characterization, exposure assessment, and biocompatibility testing.

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ENGR 591: Nanotechnology Environmental, Health, and Safety Impacts

Spring 2016, 2017 This course provides a fundamental understanding of nanotechnology and its environmental, health, and safety impact. We will discuss nanomaterials synthesis, fabrication, and characterization. Applications of engineered nanomaterials in medicine, including nanotechnology-based drug delivery systems will be discussed and used as examples for nanoEHS analyses. Host response to nanomaterials and nanotoxicology will be the focal point of the course. Research methods in nanotoxicology will be emphasized, including essential skills such as critical analysis of scientific literature, effective oral and written communication.

ENGR 591: Nanotoxicology

Fall 2019 This course provides a fundamental understanding of toxicity evaluation of nanoscale materials. Applications of engineered nanomaterials in medicine, including nanotechnology-based drug delivery systems and medical devices will be discussed and used as examples for toxicological assessment. Emerging approaches to predictive toxicology will be the focus of the course. Research methods in nanotoxicology will be emphasized, including essential skills such as critical analysis of scientific literature, effective oral and written communication, and grant writing.

Selected Articles

Nano-enabled personal care products: Current developments in consumer safety | NanoImpact

2018

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Influence of ZnO thin film crystallinity on in vitro biocompatibility | Toxicology Research

2018

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An annotated corpus with nanomedicine and pharmacokinetic parameters | International Journal of Nanomedicine

2017

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Effectiveness of hand washing on the removal of iron oxide nanoparticles from human skin ex vivo | Journal of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene

2017

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Methodological considerations when conducting in vitro, air-liquid interface exposures to engineered nanoparticle aerosols | Critical Reviews in Toxicology

2016

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Oxidative Stress Biomarkers in Apprentice Welders Exposed to Tungsten Inert Gas (TIG) Welding Fume: A Controlled Human Exposure Study | Particles & Fibre Toxicology

2016

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Using natural language processing techniques to inform research on nanotechnology | Beilstein Journal of Nanotechnology,

2015

In this paper, we review the different informatics methods that have been applied to patent mining, nanomaterial/device characterization, nanomedicine, and environmental risk assessment.

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Nanocuration workflows: Establishing best practices for identifying, inputting, and sharing data to inform decisions on nanomaterials | Beilstein Journal of Nanotechnology

2015

There is a critical opportunity in the field of nanoscience to compare and integrate information across diverse fields of study through informatics (i.e., nanoinformatics). This paper is one in a series of articles on the data curation process in nanoinformatics (nanocuration).

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Characterization of Tungsten Inert Gas (TIG) Welding Fume Generated by Apprentice Welders | Annals of Occupational Hygiene

2015

Tungsten inert gas welding (TIG) represents one of the most widely used metal joining processes in industry. Its propensity to generate a greater portion of welding fume particles at the nanoscale poses a potential occupational health hazard for workers. However, current literature lacks comprehensive characterization of TIG welding fume particles.

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