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Publication Date



UM campus only

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PHD)


Chemistry (Arts and Sciences)

Date of Defense


First Committee Member

Francisco M. Raymo

Second Committee Member

Thomas K. Harris

Third Committee Member

Roger M. Leblanc

Fourth Committee Member

George C. Boynton


Advances in recent nanoscience technologies have generated a new compilation of biocompatible, fluorescent nanoparticles derived from semiconductor quantum dots (QDs). QDs are extremely small in size and possess very large surface areas, which gives them unique physical properties and applications distinct from those of bulk systems. When exposed to biological fluid, these QDs may become coated with proteins and other biomolecules given their dynamic nature. These protein-QD systems may affect or enhance the changes in protein structure and stability, leading to the destruction of biological function. It is believed that these QDs can act as nucleation centers and subsequently promote protein fibril formation. Protein fibrillation is closely associated with many fatal human diseases, including neurodegenerative diseases and a variety of systemic amyloidoses. This topic of protein-QD interaction brings about many key issues and concerns, especially with respect to the potential risks to human health and the environment. Herein, the behavioral effects of dihydrolipoic acid (DHLA)-capped CdSe/ZnS (core/shell) QDs in hen egg-white lysozyme (HEWL) and human serum albumin (HSA) protein systems were systematically analyzed. This study gives rise to a better understanding of the potentially useful application of these protein-QD systems in nanobiotechnology and nanomedicine as a bioimaging tool and/or as a reference for controlled biological self-assembly processes.


Human Serum Albumin; Protein Fibrils; Hen Egg-white Lysozyme; Nanobiotechnology; Protein-nanoparticle Interactions