Synthesis and Characterisation of Dual Functional Nanoparticles for Probing the Role of Reactive Oxygen Species in Cellular Function

Lead Research Organisation: Durham University
Department Name: Chemistry


The proposal concerns the synthesis and characterisation of dual functional nanoparticles for studying the response of cells to Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS). ROS have been implicated in ageing, heart disease, and recently, in the onset of Alzheimer's disease. The nanoparticles will contain a dye which responds to changes in calcium ions. Calcium ions are an important species which the cell uses to send messages from one site to another. Our dual functional nanoparticles will have the ability to sense changes in calcium ions in their immediate environment within the cell, but what differentiates them from other similar species is the ability to generate bursts of ROS when excited with light. The ROS generating component will be attached to the nanoparticles after they are formed and are composed of molecules called porphyrins. The ability to generate ROS by porphyrins is currently exploited in the Photodynamic Therapy of diseases such as cancer and age related macular degeneration. By changing the chemical structure of the porphyrins and then attaching them to the nanoparaticle we also plan to cause them to accumulate at important structures within the cells, such as the mitochondria. Currently, no similar tools are available for studying ROS in cells and it is anticipated that the successful development of our system will generate important new data relating to how cells respond to ROS.


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Description This work focused the preparation of nanoparticles containing molecules such as photosensitisers and molecular probes. These nanoparticles can be used as both probes of their local environment, and also to cause perturbations to this environment, along cause and effect to be investigated.
Exploitation Route The routes to preparing the nanoparticles and the general techniques for the covalent coupling of molecular species to the interior or exterior, and of physical entrapment within these nanoparticles has been demonstrated, as has the effects of these upon the photophysical properties of the species. These may have applications beyond the original proposal
Sectors Chemicals,Healthcare,Security and Diplomacy

Description The PhD student carrying out the work, Dr Rosser, became closely involved with Outreach activities.
First Year Of Impact 2014