It’s been 14 years since I left Ferrum College with an Environmental Science degree in one hand and not a clue in the other. And while the path that brought me to where I am today has been anything but typical, it’s a path that I was uniquely prepared to take thanks in large part to my time at Ferrum. Much of my professional experience has been in the area of sustainable nanotechnology — from investigating the uptake of engineered nanoparticles by aquatic biota, to founding a nanotechnology environmental health and safety company, to managing an investment portfolio at Virginia Tech that seeds cutting-edge research at the interfaces of nanotechnology, biology, and the environment. Most important, my story is a great illustration of how a “blue-collar liberal arts perspective” can serve as a critical element of interdisciplinary teams tackling society’s high-tech challenges of the future.
In my current position, I manage the NanoScale Science and Engineering and Nano-Bio Interface research portfolio at Virginia Tech’s Institute for Critical Technology and Applied Science (ICTAS). I am also President and Owner of NanoSafe, Inc., a provider of nanotechnology human and environmental health and safety (EHS) services, founded in 2007 and headquartered in Blacksburg, VA. My background in nanotechnology EHS risk management includes co-editing Nanotechnology Environmental Health and Safety: Risks, Regulation, and Management — First and Second editions (Elsevier, London, 2009, 2014); a 2007 appointment to the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy’s (OSTP) Nanotechnology Technical Advisory Group (nTAG); and a decade of experience developing federal/commercial research programs focused on topics ranging from web-enabled nanotechnology EHS risk management systems, nanotechnology waste recovery and recycling processes, and life-cycle ecotoxicological studies of nanomanufacturing. I received my Ph.D. in Civil and Environmental Engineering and MS in Biology from Virginia Tech (Blacksburg, VA), and my BS in Environmental Science from Ferrum College (Ferrum, VA).
Matthew Hull, Ph.D. ‘00, President/Founder, NanoSafe, Inc.
Program Manager, Nano-Bio Interface and Nanoscale Science and Engineering, Virginia Tech Institute for Critical Technology and Applied Science (ICTAS)