Vicki Stone


Head of Institute Research Institute IB3<br /> Director of Nanosafety / Professor of Toxicology

+44 (0) 131 451 3460
Room 1.51A David Brewster Building Heriot-Watt University Edinburgh EH14 4AS United Kingdom
Roles and responsibilities

I am Professor of Toxicology Head of the Institute for Biological Chemistry, Biophysics and Bioengineering (IB3) and Director of Nano-Safety Research Group.

My responsibilities include:

  • Member of SnIRC (Safety of nanomaterials Interdisciplinary Research Collaboration) that includes Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh Napier University, the Institute of Occupational Medicine (IOM), the University of Edinburgh and Central Sciences Laboratory.
  • Director of Toxicology for SAFENANO, a facility to support the risk, exposure and hazard needs of nanotechnology industries.
  • Editor-in-chief of the journal Nanotoxicology (impact factor 5.77).
  • PhD supervision and conducting numerous PhD vivas at universities throughout Europe.

Current research projects

GRACIOUS - Framework for grouping and read-across of nanomaterials/nanoforms for regulatory risk assessment and safe-by-design

Funding: EU H2020 Jan 2018 - Jun 2021 - Euro's 6.9 million total (0.8 million to HWU)

Vicki Stone is project coordinator and PI

Background: Manufacturing and functionalising materials at the nanoscale can lead to a whole array of nanoforms (NFs) of a substance varying in e.g. size, morphology and surface characteristics. Due to financial, time and ethical consideration, safety testing for the risk assessment of every unique NF is virtually impossible. Grouping and read-across are currently used in a regulatory context to predict hazard and exposure information for data poor substances based on structural and chemical similarity with data rich substance.   

Goal: The main goal of GRACIOUS is to generate a highly innovative science-based Framework to enable practical application of grouping, leading to read-across and between NFs. In achieving this goal, GRACIOUS will streamline the risk assessment process for both regulatory and safe-by-design processes.

PATROLS  - Physiologically Anchored Tools for Realistic nanOmateriaL hazard aSsessment

Funding: EU H2020 Jan 2018 - Jun 2021  - Euro's 14 million total (1.2 million to HWU)

Vicki Stone is Work package leader and PI

Background:  An ever increasing array of nanomaterials, with varying physicochemical characteristics, surface modifications and applications makes it increasingly difficult to assess their safety.  It is not ethical nor financially feasible to test every new nanomaterial in animal models.  However, in vitro models are often criticised for being too simplistic and not sufficiently representative of complex biological tissues for the purpose of hazard assessment.

Goal: PATROLS will establish and standardise a battery of innovative, next generation hazard assessment tools that more accurately predict adverse effects caused by long-term (chronic), low dose NM exposure in human and environmental systems to support regulatory risk decision making.

BIORIMA - BIOmaterial RIsk MAnagement

Funding: EU H2020 Nov 2017- Oct 2021  - Euro's  million total (250k to HWU)

Vicki Stone is PI

Background: Currently nano-biomaterials are used in a wide range of advanced medicines and medical devices.  The current regulatory frameworks require risk assessment for approval.  While a range of regulations exist that are applicable to

Goal: To develop an Integrated Risk Management Framework for Nano-Biomaterials used in Advanced Medicine and Medical Devices

SAVE:  Single-Administration Vaccine Enhancement

Funding:  BBSRC June 2018 - May 2021 £740k

Vicki Stone is CoI  (PI Ferry Melchels)

Background:  In order to ensure a vaccine is effective in the long term, delivery of a vaccine booster is required at a predefined time (usually several months) after delivery of the initial vaccine.  Delivery of a booster for farm animals requires recollection of the animals and a second expensive visit by the vet.  By co-adiministration of the initial dose and the booster simultaneously the cost and effeciency is greatly enhanced.  This is relevant for a vareity of diseases such as Bovine tuberculosis (TB). In future, if successful, this approach can also be used in humans, especially in remote locations where booster take-up is low.

Goal:  To improve the efficiency of vaccinating farm and wild animals by administration of vaccines and their boosters simultaneously through use of a biodegradable, low toxicity implant the bursts to release the vaccine booster payload at a predefined time.

Developing Alternative Models to Evaluate the Impact of Nanomaterials on Neutrophils during the Stimulation and Resolution of Inflammation

Funding: NC3Rs  Nov 2016 - Oct 2019  £447

Vicki Stone is CoI  (PI Helinor Johnston)

Background: Alternative methods to the use of animals are required to address legislative requirements for mandatory chemical and nanomaterial safety assessment.

Goal:  To develop sensitive and relevant alternative (non-rodent) methods for assessing the stimulation and resolution of inflammation via evaluation of neutrophil responses. Neutrophil functions that reflect key processes in the initiation, progression and resolution of inflammation will be identified and used to select evidence based, sensitive endpoints (bio-indicators) that can be developed into standardised protocols to screen inflammogenicity using alternative models. The models used will include:

1. Blood derived primary human neutrophils

2. The neutrophil-like HL60 human promyelocytic cell line

3. Transgenic zebrafish (ZF) embryos (e.g. with fluorescent neutrophils)

Synthetic layered silicate toxicity testing

Funding:  BYK Altana May 2016 - Nov 2019  £101k

Vicki Stone is PI

Background: Synthetic layered silicates are used in a wide variety of commercial products ranging from cosmetics and personal hygiene products, to medical devices, foods and coatings.

Goal:  To compare the relative hazard of a range of man-made synthetic layered silicates varying in their composition, size and charge.


Web of Science Highly Cited Researcher 2018

Selected publications

A cross-species and model comparison of the acute toxicity of nanoparticles used in the pigment and ink industries
Brown, D. M., Johnston, H. J., Gaiser, B. K., Pinna, N., Caputo, G., Culha, M., Kelestemur, S., Altunbek, M., Stone, V., Roy, J. C., Kinross, J. H. & Fernandes, T. F., Jul 2018, In : NanoImpact. 11, p. 20–32 13 p. Link

Adoption of in vitro systems and zebrafish embryos as alternative models for reducing rodent use in assessments of immunological and oxidative stress responses to nanomaterials
Johnston, H. J., Verdon, R., Gillies, S., Brown, D. M., Fernandes, T. F., Henry, T. B., Rossi, A. G., Tran, L., Tucker, C., Tyler, C. R. & Stone, V., 16 Mar 2018, In : Critical Reviews in Toxicology. 48, 3, p. 252-271 20 p. Link

Comparative, collaborative, and integrative risk governance for emerging technologies
Linkov, I. , Trump, B. D. , Anklam, E. , Berube, D. , Boisseasu, P. , Cummings, C. , Ferson, S. , Florin, M. V. , Goldstein, B. , Hristozov, D. , Jensen, K. A. , Katalagarianakis, G. , Kuzma, J. , Lambert, J. H. , Malloy, T. , Malsch, I. , Marcomini, A. , Merad, M. , Palma-Oliveira, J. , Perkins, E. & 5 others , Jun 2018, In : Environment Systems and Decisions. 38, 2, p. 170-176 7 p. Link

Nanodelivery systems and stabilized solid-drug nanoparticles for orally administered medicine: current landscape
Kermanizadeh, A., Powell, L. G., Stone, V. & Møller, P., 16 Nov 2018, In : International Journal of Nanomedicine. 13, p. 7575—7605 31 p. Link

Nonanimal Approaches to Assessing the Toxicity of Inhaled Substances: Current Progress and Future Promise: Roundtable Discussion
Clippinger, A. J., Allen, D., Behrsing, H., Hinderliter, P. M., Landsiedel, R., Reinke, E. N. & Stone, V., 9 May 2018, In : Applied In Vitro Toxicology. 4, 2 Link

Nanomaterials versus ambient ultrafine particles: An opportunity to exchange toxicology knowledge
Stone, V., Miller, M. R., Clift, M. J. D., Elder, A., Mills, N. L., Møller, P., Schins, R. P. F., Vogel, U., Kreyling, W. G., Jensen, K. A., Kuhlbusch, T. A. J., Schwarze, P. E., Hoet, P., Pietroiusti, A., de Vizcaya-Ruiz, A., Baeza-Squiban, A., Teixeira, J. P., Tran, C. L. & Cassee, F. R., 10 Oct 2017, In : Environmental Health Perspectives. 125, 10, 106002 Link

Expert consensus on an in vitro approach to assess pulmonary fibrogenic potential of aerosolized nanomaterials
Clippinger, A. J., Ahluwalia, A., Allen, D., Bonner, J. C., Casey, W., Castranova, V., David, R. M., Halappanavar, S., Hotchkiss, J. A., Jarabek, A. M., Maier, M., Polk, W., Rothen-Rutishauser, B., Sayes, C. M., Sayre, P., Sharma, M. & Stone, V., Jul 2016, In : Archives of Toxicology. 90, 7, p. 1769-1783 15 p. Link

Neurodegenerative and neurological disorders by small inhaled particles
Heusinkveld, H. J., Wahle, T., Campbell, A., Westerink, R. H. S., Tran, L., Johnston, H. J., Stone, V., Cassee, F. R. & Schins, R. P. F., Sep 2016, In : NeuroToxicology. 56, p. 94–106 Link



I graduated from the University of Leeds in 1991 with a 1st class honours degree in Physiology. At the University of Leeds I was the recipient the University of Leeds Centenary Medal. My PhD was completed at Birmingham University in Toxicology in 1994 supervised by Prof Roger Coleman and Prof Kevin Chipman. While studying in Birmingham I was awarded the British Toxicology Society Young Investigator Award. I am an elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, the Royal Society of Chemistry and the Royal Society of Edinburgh, as well as an Honorary Principal Scientist at the Institute of Occupational Medicine.  I have provided expert advice on particle toxicology to the World Health Organisation, the Royal Society/Royal Academy of Engineering and to the Royal Commission. I was a member of the Department of Health’s Committee on the Medical Effects of Air Pollution (COMEAP), and in the past have worked as an executive member of the International Council on Nanotechnology (ICON) and Consultant to the Olympic Medical Association. I have been an invited speaker at conferences in Australia (Perth and Sydney), Asia (China, Taiwan and Japan), USA (San Francisco, North Carolina, Florida, Miami) and Europe (Denmark, France, Spain, Germany, Italy, Switzerland).Collaborators spread across Europe (more than 40 institutes through EU projects), USA (National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health, University of Rochester, Duke University, Arizona University) and Japan. I have been an expert advisory panel member for CEINT (Center for the Environmental Implications of Nanotechnology, Duke University, USA) and NANOTEST (EC FP7 funded project). I have published over 180 research papers with high citations as recognised by my Clarivate Analytics Highly Cited Researcher award.


Further information

I am a member of the British Toxicology Society.

I am a grant reviewer for MRC, EPSRC, The Colt Foundation, the Swiss National Research Programme, The Austrian Research Council and others.