Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



Document Type



Biodegradable and biocompatible polymeric nanoparticles such as poly (lactide-co-glycolide) (PLGA) nanoparticles have been extensively studied as drug delivery systems for a variety of pharmaceutical agents. Nanoparticle surface properties are primarily determined by the emulsifiers used in the synthesis process, which have a significant impact on nanoparticle physico-chemical and biological properties. Anionic amino acid – based molecular micelles were used in the emulsification process to prepare monodisperse, small (below 100 nm) PLGA nanoparticles with a well defined spherical shape. Such molecular micelle – modified nanoparticles were used as drug carriers for delivery of antioxidants. Thymoquinone is a natural antioxidant, and an emerging anticancer drug found in Nigella sativa black seed oil. Thymoquinone – loaded nanoparticles demonstrated improved properties when compared with the free drug, suggesting that such nanoparticle systems are promising candidates for antioxidant delivery and tumor growth inhibition. Furthermore, polymeric nanoparticles were used as sensors for detection of hydroxyl radicals. Ratiometric fluorescent molecular micelle – modified PLGA nanoparticles were designed using a reporting dye (coumarin – functionalized molecular micelle) present on their surface as well as a reference dye (neutral red) encapsulated into the polymeric matrix. The nanoparticles were able to detect hydroxyl radicals in a time and concentration dependent manner, and presented high selectivity for hydroxyl radicals as compared with other reactive oxygen species. In addition, the ratiometric fluorescent nanosensors were able to detect hydroxyl radicals in viable cells exposed to oxidative stress, allowing their potential use in the study of other living systems.



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Committee Chair

Warner, Isiah M.



Included in

Chemistry Commons