Deborah Berhanu, PhD

Associate Professor | Science and Mathematics

Business and Liberal Arts Center, Room B839


BS, Universit Claude Bernard Lyon 1
PhD, University of Manchester

Research Interests

 Nanoparticles Synthesis and Characterization; Hybrid Materials and Composites; Self-assembly and Superlattices; Role of Nanotechnology in Sustainable Development and Circularity; Effect of Nanoparticles to Human Health and the Environment. My research focuses on the synthesis and characterization of nanoparticles for various applications. 

Conferences and Presentations

Circularity and its Applications: The Role of Nanotechnology, Global Fashion Management School of Graduate Studies, Fashion Institute of Technology, 2019, New York Seminar. 

NanoEarth Summer School, 2016, National Center for Earth and Environmental Nanotechnology Infrastructure, Virginia Tech., USA.

Quantitative Nanostructure Toxicity Relationships (QNTR), 2011, The Vaeshartelt Castle, The Netherlands

“Optimizing synthesis and characterization of nanomaterials for toxicological studies”. Symposium - Safety issues of Nanomaterials along their life cycle, 2011, Barcelona, Spain

“The importance of particle characterization in nanotoxicology”. Advanced Materials Science and Engineering (Graduate School Lecture) Royal School of Mines, Imperial College London, 2010, London, UK

NanoImpactNet Environmental Workshop, 2010, Zurich, Switzerland. The organizers published the outcomes of the discussions. Vicki Stone et al., Sci. Tot. Environ. 408 (2010) 1745–1754. DOI: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2009.10.035 


SK Misra, AD Dybowska, D Berhanu, E Valsami-Jones, Isotopically modified nanoparticles, U.S. patent 20120282645, 11-08-2012.

Selected Publications

Scholarly book chapter

Deborah Berhanu and Eugenia Valsami-Jones, Chapter 4: Nanotoxicity: Are We Confident for Modelling? - An
Experimentalist’s Point-of-View. In J. Leszczynski, T. Puzyn, H. Kroto, P. O'Brien, H. Craighead (eds) “Towards Efficient
Designing of Safe Nanomaterials: Innovative Merge of Computational Approaches and Experimental Techniques.” Royal Society of Chemistry, ISBN: 1849734530

Refereed Journal Articles

S Sweeney, D Berhanu, P Ruenraroengsak, AJ Thorley, E Valsami-Jones, TD Tetley, Nano-titanium dioxide bioreactivity with human alveolar type-I-like epithelial cells: Investigating crystalline phase as a critical determinant. Nanotoxicology 2015, 9 (4), 482-492.

A Katsumiti, D Berhanu, KT Howard, I Arostegui, M Oron, P Reip, E Valsami-Jones, MP Cajaraville, Cytotoxicity of TiO2 nanoparticles to mussel hemocytes and gill cells in vitro: Influence of synthesis method, crystalline structure, size and additive, Nanotoxicology, 1-11, 2014.

T Ramskov, H Selck, G Banta, SK Misra, D Berhanu, E Valsami‐Jones, VE Forbes, Bioaccumulation and effects of different‐shaped copper oxide nanoparticles in the deposit‐feeding snail Potamopyrgus antipodarum, Environmental
Toxicology and Chemistry, 2014.

S Sweeney, D Berhanu, SK Misra, AJ Thorley, E Valsami-Jones, TD Tetley, Multi-walled carbon nanotube length as a critical determinant of bioreactivity with primary human pulmonary alveolar cells, Carbon 2014, 78, 26-37.

Y Cong, GT Banta, H Selck, D Berhanu, E Valsami-Jones, VE Forbes, Toxicity and bioaccumulation of sediment-associated silver nanoparticles in the estuarine polychaete, Nereis (Hediste) diversicolor, Aquatic Toxicology, 2014.

Unai Vicario-Parés, Luis Castañaga, Jose Maria Lacave, Miriam Oron, Paul Reip, Deborah Berhanu, Eugenia Valsami-Jones, Miren P Cajaraville, Amaia Orbea, Comparative toxicity of metal oxide nanoparticles (CuO, ZnO and TiO2) to
developing zebrafish embryos, Journal of Nanoparticle Research 2014, 16 (8), 1-16.

SK Misra, S Nuseibeh, A Dybowska, D Berhanu, TD Tetley, E Valsami-Jones, Comparative study using spheres, rods and spindle-shaped nanoplatelets on dispersion stability, dissolution and toxicity of CuO nanomaterials, Nanotoxicology 2014, 8 (4), 422-432.

C Mouneyrac, P-E Buffet, L Poirier, A Zalouk-Vergnoux, M Guibbolini, C Risso-de Faverney, D Gilliland, D Berhanu, A
Dybowska, A Châtel, H Perrein-Ettajni, J-F Pan, H Thomas-Guyon, P Reip, E Valsami-Jones, Fate and effects of metalbased nanoparticles in two marine invertebrates, the bivalve mollusc Scrobicularia plana and the annelid polychaete Hediste diversicolor, Environmental Science and Pollution Research 2014, 1-14.

KT Howard, MJ Bailey, D Berhanu, PA Bland, G Cressey, LE Howard, C Jeynes, R Matthewman, Z Martins, MA Sephton, V Stolojan, S Verchovsky, Biomass preservation in impact melt ejecta, Nature Geoscience 2013, 6, 1018–1022.

FR Khan, K Schmuecking, SH Krishnadasan, D Berhanu, BD Smith, JC deMello, PS Rainbow, SN Luoma, E Valsami‐Jones, Dietary bioavailability of cadmium presented to the gastropod Peringia ulvae as quantum dots and in ionic form, Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry 2013, 32 (11), 2621-2629.

C Pang, H Selck, GT Banta, SK Misra, D Berhanu, A Dybowska, E Valsami‐Jones, VE Forbes, Bioaccumulation, toxicokinetics, and effects of copper from sediment spiked with aqueous Cu, nano‐CuO, or micro‐CuO in the deposit‐feeding snail, Potamopyrgus antipodarum, Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry 2013, 32 (7), 1561-1573.

S Di Bucchianico, MR Fabbrizi, SK Misra, E Valsami-Jones, D Berhanu, P Reip, E Bergamaschi, L Migliore, Multiple cytotoxic and genotoxic effects induced in vitro by differently shaped copper oxide nanomaterials, Mutagenesis 2013, 28(3), 287-299.

P-E Buffet, M Richard, F Caupos, A Vergnoux, H Perrein-Ettajani, A Luna-Acosta, F Akcha , J-C Amiard, C Amiard-Triquet, M Guibbolini, C Risso-De Faverney, H Thomas-Guyon, P Reip, A Dybowska, D Berhanu, E Valsami-Jones and C
Mouneyrac, A Mesocosm Study of Fate and Effects of CuO Nanoparticles on Endobenthic Species (Scrobicularia plana, Hediste diversicolor), Environmental Science and Technology, 2013, 47 (3), 1620–1628.

D Cohen, Y Soroka, Z Ma’or, M Oron, M Portugal-Cohen, F Menahem Brégégère, D Berhanu, E Valsami-Jones, N Hai, Y
Milner, Evaluation of topically applied copper(II) oxide nanoparticle cytotoxicity in human skin organ culture,
Toxicology in Vitro 2013, 27 (1), 292-298.

SK Misra, AD Dybowska, D Berhanu, SN Luoma, E Valsami-Jones, The complexity of nanoparticle dissolution and its
importance in nanotoxicological studies, Science of The Total Environment, 2012, 438, 225-232.

SK Misra, AD Dybowska, D Berhanu, MN Croteau, SN Luoma, AR Boccaccini, E Valsami-Jones, Isotopically modified
nanoparticles for enhanced detection in bioaccumulation studies, Environmental Science and Technology, 2012, 46
(2), 1216–1222.

C Pang, H Selck, SK Misra, D Berhanu, A Dybowska, E Valsami-Jones, V Forbes, Effects of sediment-associated copper to the deposit-feeding snail, potamopyrgus antipodarum: A comparison of Cu added in aqueous form or as nano-and
micro-CuO particles, Aquatic Toxicology, 2012, 106–107, 114–122.

Y Cong, GT Banta, H Selck, D Berhanu, E Valsami-Jones, VE Forbes, Toxic effects and bioaccumulation of nano-, micronand ionic-Ag in the polychaete, Nereis diversicolor, Aquatic Toxicology, 2011, 105(3-4), 403-411.

P Ruenraroengsak, P Novak, D Berhanu, AJ Thorley, E Valsami-Jones, J Gorelik, YE Korchev and TD Tetley, Respiratory
epithelial cytotoxicity and membrane damage (holes) caused by amine-modified nanoparticles, Nanotoxicology,
2012, 6, 1, 94-108.

P-E Buffet, OF Tankou, J-F Pan, D Berhanu, C Herrenknecht, L Poirier, C Amiard-Triquet, J-C Amiard, J-B Bérard, C Risso, M Guibbolini, M Roméo, P Reip, E Valsami-Jones and C Mouneyrac, Behavioural and biochemical responses of two marine invertebrates Scrobicularia plana and Hediste diversicolor to copper oxide nanoparticles, Chemosphere, 2011, 84(1),166-174

AM Nightingale, SH Krishnadasan, D Berhanu, X Niu, C Drury, R McIntyre, E Valsami-Jones, JC deMello, A stable droplet reactor for high temperature nanocrystal synthesis, Lab on a chip, 2011, 11(7), 1221-1227.

AD Dybowska, M-N Croteau, SK Misra, D Berhanu, SN Luoma, P Christian, P O’Brien, E Valsami-Jones, Synthesis of
isotopically modified ZnO nanoparticles and their potential as nanotoxicity tracers, Environmental Pollution, 2011,
159(1), 266-273.

D Berhanu, A Dybowska, SK Misra, CJ Stanley, P Ruenraroengsak, AR Boccaccini, TD Tetley, SN Luoma, JA Plant and E
Valsami-Jones, Characterisation of carbon nanotubes in the context of toxicity studies, Environmental Health 2009,
8(Suppl 1):S3.

E Valsami-Jones, D Berhanu, A Dybowska, S Misra, AR Boccaccini, TD Tetley, SN Luoma and JA Plant, Nanomaterial
synthesis and characterisation for toxicological studies: TiO2 case study Mineralogical Magazine 2008,72, 515-519.
D Berhanu, K Govender, D Smyth-Boyle, M Archbold, DP Halliday & P O'Brien, Soft Hydrothermal Routes to PbS and CdS nanocrystals. Chemical Communication 2006, 7(45), 4709-4711.

D Berhanu, DS Boyle, K Govender & P O’Brien, Novel wet-chemical routes to highly structured semiconductor layers for improved efficiency photovoltaic devices, Journal of Materials Science-Materials in Electronics 2003, 14, 579-582. 



The Faculty Development Grants and Awards (FDGA) to attend the ACS Conference in Philadelphia (canceled). 


National Science Foundation - Award #1919563 - MRI: Acquisition of a Benchtop Analytical Scanning Electron Microscope 


CUNY Research Scholars Program- Director of the Program on Kingsborough Campus. CRSP provided scholarship for 28 students, research supply/summer salary for the mentors and an administration budget.


The President's Innovation Award allowed my research group to acquire an inverted microscope and mentor students on Pickering emulsions using nanoparticles.

MUNI Visiting Scientist at NanoEarth, Access to the Virginia Tech National Center for Earth and Environmental Nanotechnology Infrastructure (NanoEarth), a member of the National Nanotechnology Coordinated Infrastructure (NNCI), supported by NSF (ECCS 1542100). One-week access of the Dynamic Light Scattering and Transmission Electron Microscope, including travel and accommodation expenses.

PSC-CUNY Enhanced Grant has allowed us to pursue nanoscience research at Kingsborough and access various facilities across CUNY.

2015 and prior

Diversity Projects Development Fund- This CUNY funding scheme allowed us to ‘Start Nanosciences Research at Kingsborough Community College.
World Universities Network, 3-month fellowship at Penn State to investigate microwave synthesis of PbS and PbSe nanocrystals.

The University of Manchester, PhD Scholarship for 3 years.


  • SC 149 Chemistry for Cosmetics and Fragrances
  • SC 147 The Forensics of Fiber Analysis
  • SC 245 Chemistry of the Everyday World