Amanda Haes, PhD

Research project title

Using Silver and Gold Nanoparticles for Biological and Chemical Sensing

Research description

Cancer, a group of diseases characterized by uncontrolled growth and spreading of abnormal cells, is currently the second leading cause of death worldwide. One area of active research in cancer therapy is the development of new anti-cancer drugs that minimize the poor selectivity, non-specific toxicity, and undesired side effects that are associated with traditional therapies. Prior to human studies, the metabolism, pharmacokinetics, safety, stability, and toxicity of the potential drug must be assessed. The aim of this research project is to develop a novel diagnostic tool using silver or gold nanoparticles for the direct detection of the anti-cancer drugs and metabolites. This project will build on our recent progress in the development of novel optically stable noble metal nanoparticles that are trapped inside silica cages. These cages result in selective transport of molecules through the silica shells based on the size and chemical functionality of the molecule.

Undergraduate minimum qualifications

General and Organic Chemistry Courses

Undergraduate role

The student would have three primary goals. The first objective would be to synthesize and characterize silica coated or polymer stabilized gold nanoparticles. Second, the student would activate these nanostructures for surface enhanced Raman scattering studies via selective silica dissolution. Finally, the nanoparticle enhanced Raman signal of a drug and a metabolite would be monitored as a function of initial concentration and time. The student would work closely with a graduate student, attend and contribute to group meetings, and participate in individual research meetings.