Document Type


Date of Degree

Fall 2017

Degree Name

MS (Master of Science)

Degree In

Biomedical Engineering

First Advisor

James A. Ankrum

First Committee Member

Aliasager Salem

Second Committee Member

Edward Sander


The goal of this project was to develop a series of nano platforms for single cell analysis and drug delivery. Nanoparticles are a promising option to improve our medical therapies by controlling biodistribution and pharmacokinetics of therapeutics. Nanosystems also offer significant opportunity to improve current imaging modalities. The systems developed during this thesis work can be foundations for developing advanced therapies for obesity and improving our fundamental understandings of single cell behavior.

The first of the two systems we attempt to create was a drug delivery system that could selectively target adipose tissue to deliver uncoupling agents and drive browning of adipose tissue and associated weight loss. Protonophores have a history of significant toxic side effects in cardiac and neuronal tissues a recently discovered protonophore, but BAM-15, has been shown to have reduced cytotoxicity. We hypothesized that the altered biodistribution of BAM-15 encapsulated in a nanoparticle could provide systemic weight loss with minimized side effects.

The second system developed utilized quantum dots to create a fluorescent barcode that could be repeatedly identified using quantitative fluorescent emission readings. This platform would allow for the tracking of individual cells, allowing repeat interrogation across time and space in complex multicellular environments.

Ultimately this work demonstrates the process and complexity involved in developing nanoparticulate systems meant to interact with incredibly complex intracellular environments.


Drug Delivery, Nanoparticle, Single cell tracking


viii, 92 pages


Includes bibliographical references (pages 77-92).


Copyright © 2017 David Allen Wadkins