Solid State Seminar: A Modular Approach to Customize Synthesis and Modifications of Nanoparticles to Meet End-User Needs”

Dr. Prakash Nallathamby
University of Notre Dame
Post-Doctoral Research
Associate Aerospace & Mechanical Engineering

Abstract: In this presentation, I will talk about the modular synthetic approach that was developed to design a spectral library of core-shell nanoparticle contrast agents, which will have broad applications in biomedical imaging due to the potential for multi-modal imaging (e.g., fluorescence, MRI, X-ray) and active targeting through molecular surface functionalization. Gadolinium oxide, hafnium oxide and gold core compositions were prepared at a common size (12-15 nm) using sol-gel and micro emulsion syntheses. Nanoparticle cores were encapsulated in a silica shell with controlled thickness of 1-15 nm using polymer shells or micro emulsions. Controlled silica shell formation enabled the incorporation of fluorescent molecules and provided a common platform for molecular surface functionalization using silane chemistry. Antibodies and other small molecules were efficiently conjugated to the nanoparticles using carbodiimide chemistry. We anticipate that this modular approach will provide a platform for facile customization of multi-component nanoparticles with tailored surface functionality that will have applications beyond the biomedical field due to the ability to customize electromagnetic properties in a size, shape and elemental composition dependent manner.

Biography: Prakash Nallathamby is a nanoparticle engineer with more than 12 years of multidisciplinary expertise in synthesis of nanomaterials, biomedical imaging, cancer biology, nano toxicology and targeted therapeutics/diagnostics. As part of his research he has published 25 peer-reviewed journal articles, been cited more than 1275 times, co-authored one book chapter, and filed two patent applications. The driving force behind his research is to use his unique interdisciplinary research experience with nanoscale sensor materials, to elucidate inter-cell trafficking and defense mechanisms of abnormal cells (e.g., cancer) with the aim of exploiting this knowledge for early detection and targeted therapies. He has secondary research interests in nano toxicology and scaling up the synthesis of nanomaterials from lab scale to pilot scale with a niche focus on anisotropic and Janus nanoparticles. He has an evolving interest in scalable manufacturing techniques of nanomaterials for applications in the field of metamaterials catalysis and in improving the efficiency of renewable energy sources.