Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Doctor of Philosophy


Medical Biophysics


Dr. Jin Zhang


Theranostics, a combination of therapeutics and diagnostics, spans a spectrum of research areas to provide new opportunities in developing new healthcare technologies and medicine at affordable prices. Through employing a personalized medicine approach, biotechnology can be tailored to the needs of an individual. Applications of theranostics include drug delivery carriers capable of sustained drug release and targeted delivery, biosensors with high sensitivity and selectivity, and diagnostic relevant entities that can be incorporated into the former technologies. Nanotechnology provides a suitable foundation for theranostics to build upon due to material-based properties; magnetism, biocompatibility, and quantum effects to name a few. Purpose can be incorporated and personalized by choosing the correct targeting ligands such as proteins and antibodies which provide both selectivity and specific function. An understanding of the interaction at the atomic level between nanoparticles and proteins can provide insight into ideal modification strategies to maximize the potential of both nanoparticles and the antibody of choice for biomedical applications. Analysis of the cellular protein interaction with theranostic nanotechnology provides a deeper understanding of the parameters and modification strategies to ensure the correct function is achieved. In the area of drug delivery, we investigated the functionalization strategies for the hybridization of organic nanoparticle drug carriers with inorganic imaging compatible nanoparticles, effect of size, and antibody bioconjugation on cell viability. The goal was to ensure the nanoparticle model minimized disruptions to the cellular structures while exacting its purpose for targeted localization or inducing a pharmacological effect. For biosensor applications, we demonstrated a non-invasive alternative to glucose measurement via tear glucose with high selectivity and sensitivity through the conjugation of the lectin concanavalin A (Con A) with fluorescent nanoparticles. Through the Forster Resonance Energy Transfer mechanism, we were able to measure glucose levels as low as 0.03 mM with high selectivity and sensitivity to minute changes in glucose concentration. These findings provide a better understanding of merging antibodies/proteins with nanotechnology and their effect in a biomedical setting. Effective management of nanotechnology can potentiate a stronger physiological reaction, provide biomedical imaging relevance, and enhance biosensor development.