Date of Award

Winter 3-2-2024

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Molecular Science and Nanotechnology

First Advisor

Mark DeCoster


Neurological disorders are the leading cause of physical and cognitive disability across the globe, currently affecting approximately 15% of the worldwide population. Part of the glioma microenvironment are microglia, resident immune cells of the CNS that were thought to be involved in the pathogenesis of diverse neurodegenerative diseases. Though it remains uncertain what triggers microglial activation in these disorders, targeting and tracking microglial functions using nanotools like Quantum Dots (QDs) could help us elucidate them in such neurological diseases. This research focuses on the comparative study of different QDs formulations and their selective uptake by brain microglia in primary cultures of the mouse brain. The work is expected to explain the properties and characteristics of different Quantum Dots, helping choose the right ones for targeted microglial cell studies. This research also investigates the interaction and potential of the novel material Copper High Aspect Ratio Structures (CuHARS) and halloysite nanotubes (HNTs) with Human Dermal Fibroblasts (HDFs) in a dynamic wound healing model. Green synthesis of nanomaterials endeavors to reduce high-energy methods with those that may include lower temperatures and pressures, the use of natural products, and bottom-up self-assembly. Our lab has previously described the self-assembly of Metal-Organic Biohybrids (MOBs) with nano- and micro-scale features using copper and silver. Unique to our synthesis compared to many other nanomaterials, in this research, we generated copper and silver MOBs with nanoscale features at physiological temperature (37°C) and body temperature (27°C). This work also focuses on understanding the potential applications of these MOBs (CuHARS) in Lateral Flow Assay (LFA) systems applications.