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Student Highlights
Danielle Smith

Spring 2009

Winner of Best Talk for the Portfolio Student Presentations Spring 2009 and Winner of Best Poster for Nano Night Spring 2009 for Molecular specific photoacoustic imaging and Selective Detection of Cancer Using Photoacoustic Imaging and Gold Nanoparticles

Srivalleesha Mallidi is a doctoral student in the Biomedical Engineering department. Her supervising professor is Stanislav Emelianov.

Abstract: Cancer has become one of the leading causes of death for today. The early detection of cancer is absolutely necessary to decrease the mortality rate and also to obtain effective therapeutic outcome. Advances in materials science have enabled the use of nanoparticles for added contrast in various imaging techniques. More recently there has been much interest in the use of gold nanoparticles as optical contrast
agents because of their strong absorption and scattering properties at visible and near-infrared wavelengths. Highly proliferative cancer cells over express molecular markers such as epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR). When specifically targeted gold nanoparticles bind to EGFR they tend to cluster leading to an optical red-shift of the plasmon resonances and an increase in absorption in the red region. These changes in optical properties provide the opportunity for photoacoustic imaging technique (contrast mechanism is based on the optical absorption properties of the tissue constituents) to differentiate cancer cells from surrounding benign cells. Studies were performed on 3-D tissue models and in-vivo murine tumor models to evaluate the feasibility of molecular specific photoacoustic imaging technique. The results indicate
that highly sensitive and selective detection of cancer cells can be achieved utilizing the plasmon resonance coupling effect of EGFR targeted gold nanoparticles and multi-wavelength photoacoustic imaging.

Danielle Smith

Fall 2008

Winner of the Best Talk for the Portfolio Student Presentations Fall 2008 - Multifunctional particles: Magnetic nanocrystals and gold nanorods coated with fluorescent dye-doped silica shells

Danielle Smith is a doctoral student in the Chemical Engineering department. Her supervising professor is Dr. Brian Korgel.

Abstract: Gold nanorods and magnetic nanocrystals are two materials that are being studied for their suitability as imaging contrast agents in biological systems. Magnetic nanocrystals can be used to enhance magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) contrast, for labeling of cancer cells, and also for intracellular labeling. The magnetic response of a nanocrystal can be tuned by varying the size of the nanocrystal as well as the composition. Gold nanorods are being explored for biological and medical use as optical contrast agents for dark field and two-photon luminescence diagnostic imaging and photothermal therapy of cancer cells. They are attractive candidates for medical imaging because their optical response can be tuned to near-infrared wavelengths, which penetrate deep into cells and tissue; furthermore, they do not photobleach or blink, and are chemically inert and biologically compatible.

Though as-synthesized gold nanorods are soluble in water, the bilayer of CTAB on their surface may render these particles harmful to living systems. As-synthesized magnetic nanocrystals are not soluble in water because they are capped with organic ligands. By coating both of these materials with silica, they are made water soluble and can thus be introduced into biological systems. Furthermore, when a fluorescent dye is embedded into the silica coating of the nanocrystals, an additional imaging modality is added. Thus, the final fluorescent dye doped silica coated nanocrystal is a heterostructure with dual imaging modality.


Summer 2008

Graduate Student Receives Two Best Paper Awards

From UT Engineering News:

T. Muraliganth, materials science and engineering graduate student, was honored with two best paper awards. Muraliganth received the Best Student Presentation award in materials science from the Texas Society for Microscopy for his paper, “LiFePO4 Nanorods Networked with Multi-Walled Carbon Nanotubes for Energy Storage Applications.” He also received the Best Clean Energy Poster award at Nano Night 2008 and CleanTX Innovation Showcase for his poster entitled “Rapid Synthesis of LiFePO4 Nanorods and their Nanohybrids for Energy Storage Applications.” The research work was carried out by both Muralinganth and postdoctoral fellow Dr. A. Vadivel Murugan, who are supervised by Dr. Arumugam Manthiram, professor of Mechanical Engineering.

Both of these papers focus on developing low cost, nanostructured cathodes for high power lithium ion batteries.



Spring 2008

Winner of the Best Talk for the Portfolio Student Presentations Spring 2008 - "Tuning Surface Energy Landscapes of Quantum Metal Thin Films with Alkali Adsorbates"

Alexander Khajetoorians, is a doctoral student in the Physics department and also part of the IGERT program. His supervising professors are Chih-Kang Shih and Allan Macdonald.

Quantum confinement shows a strong interplay between growth and kinetics in thin metal systems where the Fermi wavelength has a special relationship to the surface normal lattice constant. In the case of Pb/Si(111) systems, this relationship reveals an interesting thickness-dependent bilayer oscillation in the density of states and surface energy up to a phase. He is interested in how the introduction of surface adsorbates modify or enhance growth-related quantum size effects (QSE) in these systems. Furthermore, he is interested in studying the surface reactivity of these systems and how adsorption is influenced by electronic confinement.



Fall 2007

Winner of the Best Talk for the Portfolio Student Presentations Fall 2007

Yaoyu Pang - "Surface Evolution and Self Assembly of Epitaxial Thin Films: Nonlinear and Anisotropic Effects"

Carlos Aguilar

Summer 2007

Carlos Aguilar, a doctoral student in biomedical engineering, received the George H. Mitchell Award, for his research in nanomaterials. His research focuses on developing nanomaterials that convert the body’s energy into electricity that can be used to power medical implants such as pacemakers.
Aguilar’s supervising professors are Shaochen Chen, associate professor of mechanical engineering and Marc Feldman, Interventional Cardiologist at the UT Health Science Center – San Antonio.

Chris Carlton

Spring 2007

Christopher Carlton, a Ph.D student in Prof. Paulo Ferreira’s lab, received the Howard J. Arnott award for best student paper from the Texas Society for Microscopy for his work on "In-situ TEM nanoindentation of silver nanoparticles". This experimental work was coupled with mathematical image analysis and theoretical analytical modeling of crystalline defects in nanoparticles.

Doh Lee

Spring 2007

Doh Chang Lee, a Ph.D. Candidate working with Professor Brian Korgel in Chemical Engineering, has won the Portfolio Program Best Presentation Award for his presentation "Synthesis and Magnetic Properties of SiO2-encapsulated FePt Nanocrystals" at the Graduate Portfolio Program Research Colloquium on April 18, 2007. Graduating Students of the Nanoscience and Nanotechnology Graduate Portfolio Program present their research at the Portfolio Program Research Colloquium every semester. Mr. Lee’s presentation was chosen from the fourteen graduating students of the portfolio program who presented their research at the Colloquium held April 18th, 2007 in NST 1.104. Mr. Lee’s award includes a $500 first prize. Forrest Davidson of Chemical Engineering won the inaugural prize in the Fall semester of 2006.






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