4 p.m. - 5 p.m. Location: SLC 1.102
Dr. Anton Naumov (Texas Christian University)
Carbon nanomaterials are leading the field of nanotechnology for over 30 years due to their unique physical and electronic properties. They are now used in microelectronics as a basis for nanoscale transistors, they serve as counter electrodes in solar cells or as reinforcement for polymeric materials. Recently carbon nanomaterials have gained a significant attention in the field of biotechnology acting as drug delivery vehicles, therapeutic moieties or nanoscale biosensors. We explore the applications of carbon nanotubes and graphene derivatives as multifunctional agents for transport of genetic medicines, imaging the pathways of such delivery and detection of cancer. As many chemotherapeutics are toxic, alternative molecular and gene treatment strategies are required to provide effective yet safe treatment of cancer. Many of those involve water-insoluble drugs that are selectively toxic only to cancer cells and non-toxic gene therapies that require a water-soluble platform to deliver those to cancer tumors and protect from degradation in blood. We use carbon nanotubes, graphene oxide and graphene quantum dots for the purpose of such therapeutic delivery that is advantageously combined with imaging of the delivered drugs in cells and animal tissues via the intrinsic fluorescence of those nanostructures. We apply mild physical processing to reduce the toxicity and improve their internalization into biological cells. Additionally, due to their unique redox properties, the fluorescence emission of graphene derivatives and quantum dots helps to detect the presence of cancerous environments. As a result, in our work carbon nanomaterials allow to deliver novel gene therapeutics into cells and animal tissues, image their location via intrinsic fluorescence emission from those nanomaterials and detect the presence of cancer cells.