The PLUS-UP European-African university network on sustainable innovation and health

Project Details


Prof. Ndeke Musee from the University of Pretoria (UP), Faculty of Engineering, Built Environment and Information Technology, and Prof. Martin Himly from the Paris Lodron University of Salzburg (PLUS), Dept. Biosciences, Div. Allergy & Immunology, have previously collaborated in the course of a PhD thesis entitled "Mixtures effects of nanoscale and macroscale contaminants to Bacillus subtilis in natural water systems", which was handed in at UP by Mr Samuel Keeng Leareng in May 2020 under supervision by Prof. Musee. Prof. Himly served as external examiner for the PhD student who performed excellent work.This work elaborated on mixture toxicity effects (on microbes) of nanomaterials (NMs) with substances in fresh water sourced from African rivers. As such, this work linked to recent investigations of the PLUS group, when mixture toxicity effects of NMs with other substances (bystanders) in every-day products were addressed (Geppert M. et al., Chem Res Toxicol, 2020, While at UP a strong expertise exists in the field of environmental aspects, work with surface waters, elucidation of contaminants on different microbiota and ecosystems, the PLUS group adds their expertise in investigation of human health effects with focus on the immune system. While both groups have experience and track records in work with NMs, physico-chemical characterization of interactive phenomena of NMs with small MW substances, UP adds skills in life cycle analysis and modelling, and PLUS adds structural understanding of biomolecules at the NMs' interface.By means of the envisioned university network (PLUS-UP) financed by the OeAD Africa-Uninet program a Postdoc/PhD fellow at UP and master students at PLUS shall conduct and develop collaborative research towards safety-by-design of materials involving NMs (termed "materials for future"). In addition, a number of training activities and international mobility of the researchers involved shall be enabled. Both elements, sustainability of materials for future in terms of their ecological aspects and safety in regard to human health shall be taken into account, requiring mutual broad expertise in a highly multidisciplinary field.
Short titlePLUS-UP for sustainability & health
Effective start/end date1/06/21 → 30/09/23


  • sustainable innovation
  • health effects
  • bio-nano interactions
  • material transformation
  • safety-by-design
  • green development