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Mesoporous Silica Nanoparticles for Targeted Drug Delivery Applications

Nano-sized mesoporous silica particles with high colloidal stability are attracting great attention as possible drug delivery and cancer cell targeting systems. This project aims at the development of advanced drug carriers based on functionalized mesoporous silica nanoparticles (MSN).

The highly porous features of mesoporous silica nanoparticles offer many opportunities for molecular interactions with pharmaceutical and biological agents. The sol-gel synthesis of MSNs is a versatile technique, in which a silica source is added to an aqueous solution of a surfactant and a complexing agent. This way it is possible to grow MSNs with diameters in the range of 50 - 100 nm and beyond. The process allows to selectively functionalize different regions of the nanoparticle volume with one or more organo-silane by adding them at different time points during the synthesis. Using this co-condensation approach, the candidate will selectively functionalize MSNs at their inner and outer surface to efficiently encapsulate molecules in their tunable nanoscale pore system, and to specifically enrich their outer surface with targeting ligands, pore gating molecules, fluorescent dyes, and biocompatible polymers. Moreover, new nanocarrier systems will be created by incorporating bioactive and biocompatible organic compounds in the porous nanoparticle framework.

Several characterization methods will be used to study the nanomaterials, including small angle X-ray diffraction (XRD), Raman and IR spectroscopy, dynamic light scattering (DLS), zeta potential measurements, nitrogen sorption, and thermogravimetric analysis. Furthermore, selected samples will be subjected to transmission electron microscopy. Additional information, such as cancer cell uptake and live-cell fluorescence microscopy, will be obtained together with our cooperation partners.


Group: Bein Research Group, Mentor Lisa Haddick, Department of Chemistry and Center for NanoScience, Ludwig-Maximilians University Munich (LMU)

Website: http://bein.cup.uni-muenchen.de/