About NanoSafe

An overview of the company and its services.


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Our Team

Matthew Hull, PhD, President & Founder 

Matt has more than a decade of experience exploring the applications and implications of nano-enabled technologies. Prior to founding NanoSafe, Matt held an appointment on the Nanotechnology Technical Advisory Group (nTAG) to PCAST and served as Senior Research Scientist at Luna Innovations Incorporated. In 2003, Matt developed the concept for the NanoSafe™ framework, which provided an integrated risk management strategy for nanotechnology facilities. The NanoSafe framework eventually led to spin-off programs funded at more than $4M and focused on nanoinformatics (e.g., WINGS, US Air Force), nanotechnology waste recovery and recycling processes, life-cycle ecotoxicological studies of nanomanufacturing, and nanomechanical sensors for chemical and biological agent detection. In 2009, along with Di Bowman of the University of Michigan Risk Science Center, and with support from Steffi Friedrichs of the Nanotechnology Industries Association (NIA), Matt co-edited the book ‘Nanotechnology Environmental Health and Safety: Risks, Regulation, and Management’, (Elsevier, London). Matt earned his PhD in Civil and Environmental Engineering and his MS in Biology from Virginia Tech. He has a BS in Environmental Science from Ferrum College.

Steve Diamond, PhD, Vice President, NanoSafe-MidWest

Steve is Vice President of NanoSafe’s Midwest Division where he leads initiatives focused on nanoinformatics, consumer safety with regard to nanotechnology-enabled products, and environmental risk assessments of nanomaterials. Steve brings to NanoSafe a strong background in ecotoxicology, including 20 years of research experience in hazard and risk assessment, as well as a deep understanding of environmental health and safety issues related to nanomaterials. Previously, Steve spent 15 years with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Research and Development (EPA ORD), and for the last eight years, he coordinated the nanomaterial ecotoxicity research efforts within the EPA ORD. During that time, Steve coauthored the EPA’s Nanomaterials Research Strategy, represented the United States as a member of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Working Party on Manufactured Nanomaterials, and participated in annual reviews of the United States’ research portfolio under the U.S. National Nanotechnology Initiative. Dr. Diamond’s research group within the EPA also published several manuscripts describing the ecotoxicity of nanoscale titanium dioxide, silver, and zinc. Steve brings an experienced perspective and an enthusiasm for the potential economic and societal benefits of nanotechnology. He also understands the implications of nanotechnology and the needs of regulators, material scientists, and entrepreneurs who are bringing nanotechnology-enabled products to market. His unique strengths are in the areas of regulatory ecotoxicity testing, and all aspects of nanomaterials photo reactivity.

Lauren Neely, MA, Research Scientist and Site Manager

Lauren is Research Scientist and Site Manager at NanoSafe. Her primary responsibilities include synthesis and characterization of nanomaterials, and verification testing of engineering controls for nanoparticle containment. Prior to joining NanoSafe, Lauren served as Scientist at MicroXact Inc. where she was responsible for metal and metal oxide nanoparticle fabrication and functionalization, nanocomposite fabrication and modeling of plasmonic nanostructures. She led technical efforts on development of stabilized aluminum nanoparticles and led the efforts of fabrication of CuO/polymer nanocomposite for use at cryogenic temperatures. She has additional research and product development experience in the areas of surface functionalized nanoparticles and multifunctional coatings. Lauren received a B.S. and M.A. in Chemistry from the University of Virginia where her post-graduate work focused on synthetic organic, inorganic, and organometallic chemistry.

Chris Dolan, Undergraduate Research Assistant

Chris is a rising senior in the department of Materials Science and Engineering at Virginia Tech. At NanoSafe, Chris supports our contract research and testing programs. Previously, Chris worked at ITT Exelis, Inc. in Roanoke.




Ariel Conn, Director of Marketing

Ariel Conn is the Director of Marketing at NanoSafe. She brings a unique perspective having a background in both marketing and science. Her experience runs the gamut from creating a got milk? commercial to studying offshore wind farms at NASA. At NanoSafe, she’ll combine her skills as a marketer and scientist to develop marketing campaigns that will more effectively communicate the services and products NanoSafe has to offer. Ariel has a BA in English from the University of Oregon, a BS in Physics from Idaho State University, and an MS in Geophysics from Virginia Tech.

Robert Barnes, Founder

LTC Robert Barnes (Retired) is co-founder of NanoSafe. Bob was instrumental to NanoSafe’s formation, and plays an important role in strategic investments and business development activities. Bob previously served as an Army Aviator and Acquisition Officer. He has extensive military contracting experience and a security clearance. Bob earned his MBA from Radford University (Radford, VA).