Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science




Dr. Elizabeth R. Gillies

Second Advisor

Dr. Viktor N. Staroverov

Third Advisor

Dr. Phil A. W. Dean


Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a powerful tool for the diagnosis of disease and the study of biological processes. Superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles (SPIO) are effective contrast agents and provide high sensitivity in MRI. Recent research has demonstrated that single SPIO labeled cells can be detected in vivo by MRI, illustrating the promise of this contrast agent. A novel conjugation method was developed using a click cycloaddition between azide functionalized nanoparticles and target molecules containing alkynes. To increase the cell loading of SPIO, a guanidine terminated polyester dendron was conjugated to SPIO and was found to have remarkable uptake into non-phagocytic cells. To study the binding of mannose to a host receptor, mannose was conjugated to SPIO in both a dendritic and non-dendritic manner. Finally, an alkyne functionalized bombesin based peptide was conjugated to provide specificity of the nanoparticles for prostate cancer. The synthesis, characterization, and biological testing of functionalized SPIO is reported



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