NANOPARTICLE SYNTHESIS AND CHARACTERIZATION
Different kinds of metal-based and polymeric nanoparticles with narrow size distribution and shape control, including iron oxide, gold, semiconductor quantum dots, silica, PLGA…are fabricated by wet chemical synthesis. The as-synthesized nanoparticles are functionalized with surface organic molecules suitable for bioconjugation with targeting ligands and characterized by electron microscopy (TEM and SEM), dynamic light scattering, Nanosight, fluorescence emission and magnetorelaxometry.
Expression and purification of ferritin protein as a biomimetic nanocarrier; functionalization and drug loading to develop new drug delivery systems for cancer treatment.
IgG-binding proteins, proteolytic enzymes and lipases may be cloned in fusion with targeting peptides, scFvs, affibodies and other recombinant antibody variants, expressed in different hosts such as E. coli or P. pastoris and purified. The resulting molecules enable site-selective covalent binding to the nanoparticle with high control on the protein distribution and arrangement on the nanoparticle surface.
MAMMALIAN CELL CULTURES
Tumor cells overexpressing desired protein markers and cultures obtained by clinical samples from diseased and healthy tissues are grown in a fully equipped laboratory. Cells treated with targeted nanoparticles are analysed by FACScan analysis and confocal microscopy to investigate the targeting efficiency and to gain information on the nanoparticle pathways of endocytosis, while ultrastructural images by TEM provide evidence on their localization within cells and on the mechanisms of interaction with subcellular components. Cell death, proliferation and toxicity are also investigated.
IN VIVO IMAGING AND TISSUE ANALYSIS
Non-invasive optical imaging allows us to follow many biological processes in healthy and diseased animal models. In particular, mice and rats implanted with metastatic tumor cells grown ex vivo are treated with nanoscale targeted tracers, are investigated and imaged by a CCD camera system and by Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI). Confocal microscopy analysis of criosections and immunohistochemistry provide information on tissue distribution of the theragnostic agent.
Synthesis and application of Silver and TiO2 NPs as alternative antibacterial agents to toxic parabens in cosmetics.