Metal encapsulated carbon dots as a novel type of photosensitizer for photodynamic therapy

Project Title: Metal encapsulated carbon dots as a novel type of photosensitizer for photodynamic therapy

Project Duration: May 21 – July 28 2018 (10 weeks), 40 hours per week.

Project Mentors:

  • Primary Faculty Mentor (Name, Affiliation, website and Email/Phone):

Dr. Jin Xie, Ph.D

Associate professor, Department of Chemistry

Email: jinxie@uga.edu

Phone: (706)-542-1933

Website: http://xie.uga.edu/

  • Postdoc/Graduate Student Mentor (Name, Affiliation, website and Email/Phone):

Dr. Anil Kumar

Department of Chemistry

Email: akumar@uga.edu

Ms. Daye Lee

Department of Chemistry

Email: Daye.Lee@uga.edu

 

Project Description:

Photodynamic therapy (PDT) is an emerging treatment modality against cancer. PDT consists of three components, which are photosensitizer, light, and oxygen. Upon photo-irradiation, photosensitizers are activated, producing reactive oxygen species (ROS) such as singlet oxygen, which are cytotoxic to cancer cells. Conventional photosensitizers are often porphyrin like molecules that show suboptimal tumor uptake. In this project, we aim to synthesize metal encapsulated carbon dots (M@Cdots) and evaluate their potential as a novel type of photosensitizer. It is hypothesized that M@Cdots after i.v. injection can accumulate in tumors through the enhanced permeability and retention (EPR) effect. With focal photo-irradiation, M@Cdots will mediate efficient PDT, leading to cancer cell death.

REU Student Role and Responsibility:

The student will learn how to prepare mesoporous silica nanoparticles (MSNs) and use MSNs as nanoreactors to prepare M@C-dots (M= Fe3+, Eu3+, and Gd3+). He/she will characterize the resulting M@C-dots by TEM, DLS, and ICP. He/she will then evaluate the efficiency of the nanoparticles as photosensitizers both in solutions and with cancer cells.

Required skills or courses for the REU student:

The student should have a good chemistry and biology background. Experiences with cell culture studies are preferred.

Expected Outcome for REU student:

The student will submit an abstract to BMES annual meeting, and co-author journal publications if the project is successful.