Nanotechnology Project

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Environment, Health and Safety Research

Cytotoxicity of Nanoparticles

Project Information

Principal InvestigatorCatherine Murphy
InstitutionUniversity of South Carolina
Project URLView
Relevance to ImplicationsHigh
Class of NanomaterialEngineered Nanomaterials
Impact SectorHuman Health
Broad Research Categories Hazard
NNI identifier

Funding Information

Anticipated Total Funding$92,000.00
Annual Funding$92,000.00
Funding SourceNSF
Funding MechanismExtramural
Funding SectorGovernment
Start Year2004
Anticipated End Year2005


Catherine J. Murphy and Michael Wyatt, University of South Carolina, are supported by the Inorganic, Bioinorganic and Organometallic Chemistry Program for exploratory research into the cytotoxicity of nanoparticles. Gold nanoparticles with sizes ranging from four to 200 nm will be functionalized with amino acids, small peptides and other bioactive groups. The functionalized nanoparticles will be characterized by electronic absorption spectroscopy, surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy and transmission electron microscopy and then tested for cytotoxicity. Further pharmacological characterization will include determining the mechanism of cell death and subcellular localization studies. This Small Grant for Exploratory Research (SGER) supports high risk/high impact research in nanobiotechnology. Chemists and pharmacologists will conduct preliminary studies on the interactions of nanoparticles with cells. Because nanoparticles are being considered as cellular imaging and drug-delivery agents, it is important to understand the inherent bio-activity of these nanoparticles. The nanoparticle may mimic the size, shape and surface functionality of protein aggregates that have also shown cytotoxic responses.