• Combining Nanoimprint Lithography with Dynamic Templating for the Fabrication of Dense, Large-Area Nanoparticle Arrays

      Neretina, Svetlana; Dikin, Dmitriy A.; Ren, Fei (Temple University. Libraries, 2016)
      The study of nanomaterials is a developing science with potentially large benefits in the development of catalysts, optical and chemical sensors, and solid state memory devices. As several of these devices require large arrays of nanoparticles, one of the greatest obstacles in material characterization and device development is the reliable manufacture of nanopatterns over a large surface area. In addition, various applications require different nanoparticle size and density. High density arrays with small nanoparticle sizes are difficult to achieve over a large surface area using current manufacturing processes. Herein, Nanoimprint Lithography (NIL) and Dynamic Templating are combined to create a new manufacturing process capable of developing high density arrays with small nanoparticle sizes. The NIL process involves the stamping of a polymer coated substrate by a silicon stamp with patterned nanofeatures. The stamp is then removed, leaving the pattern in the polymer, which is first etched and then coated with a thin layer of metal, filling the recessed regions of the pattern. The excess polymer is dissolved, leaving a pattern of nanoparticles on the substrate matching the pattern on the stamp. When Dynamic Templating is applied, a very thin layer of metal can be coated, which forms small nanoparticle sizes when dewetted. A custom NIL system has been developed to combine these two processes together, which has now proven to yield consistent large-area, dense arrays with a small nanoparticle size. An array spacing of 700 nm has been achieved, along with a nanoparticle size of 90 nm. Arrays have been created in gold and palladium, where there is now the potential to combine them with other solution-based syntheses which should lead to complex nanoparticle geometries suitable for sensor applications.
    • Controlling DNA compaction with cationic amphiphiles for efficient delivery systems-A step forward towards non-viral Gene Therapy

      Wunder, Stephanie L.; Nicholson, Allen W.; Varnum, Susan A.; Ilies, Marc A. (Temple University. Libraries, 2012)
      The synthesis of pyridinium cationic lipids, their counter-ion exchange, and the transfection of lipoplexes consisting of these lipids with firefly luciferase plasmid DNA (6.7 KDa), into lung, prostate and breast cancer cell lines was investigated. The transfection ability of these newly synthesized compounds was found to be twice as high as DOTAP/cholesterol and LipofectamineTM (two commercially available successful transfection agents). The compaction of the DNA onto silica (SiO2) nanoparticles was also investigated. For this purpose, it was necessary to study the stability and fusion studies of colloidal systems composed of DMPC (1,2-dimyristoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine), a zwitterionic lipid, and mixtures of DMPC with cationic DMTAP (1,2-dimyristoyl-3-trimethylammonium-propane).
    • Efficient Drug and Nucleic Acid Delivery Systems based on Synthetic Amphiphiles with Tuned Oil/Water Interfaces

      Ilies, Marc A.; Canney, Daniel J.; Fassihi, Reza; Lebo, David; Brailoiu, Eugen (Temple University. Libraries, 2018)
      Today, drugs are an integral part of healthy human life, with new drug entities being introduced every year in clinic. The advancement of drug development brings complexity and variation, in terms of both physical and chemical properties. Some of these physicochemical characteristics are many times suboptimal, eventually requiring robust delivery systems that can precisely deliver the drugs to the desired tissues. Although many materials have been studied for the generation of drug delivery systems, there is always a need for biomaterials with better properties that can translate into superior delivery systems. In this context, new drug delivery systems that are interface-engineered at materials level for better stability and delivery efficiency in vitro and in vivo are introduced in this dissertation. In the first part of the dissertation, novel oil/water interface-engineered amphiphilic block copolymer micelles that were previously introduced by our lab were assessed for their stability in the presence of various esterase enzymes present in serum and on blood vessel walls, normally encountered by drug delivery systems on route to the targeted tissues. I also assessed the vulnerability of the polymeric micelles in presence of enzymes typically present either inside the tumor cells or secreted in the tumor microenvironment. I revealed the selective stability of empty- and docetaxel-loaded polymeric micelles to enzymatic degradation en route/in tumors and I have correlated this selective stability with polymer structure and interfacial engineering mentioned above. The unique delivery capabilities of interfacial-engineered polymeric micelles were tested in vivo using a mouse model of triple negative breast cancer. We proved that our novel engineered triblock copolymer-based drug delivery systems are superior to similar delivery systems made out of standard diblock copolymer micelles and also to the clinically used Taxotere® formulation towards cancer cell killing and tumor treatment, without displaying any significant toxicity in experimental animals. The second part of the dissertation focuses on the development and assessment of a pyridinium-based pseudo-gemini surfactant that combined the high nucleic acid packaging capacity of pyridinium lipids with the high transfection efficiency of gemini surfactants while displaying a reduced associated cytotoxic effect. I have analyzed the temperature treatment on compaction of nucleic acids into lipoplexes and I have established a high temperature annealing method for this purpose. This novel formulation technique allowed a substantial reduction of the amount of amphiphiles required to compact a specific amount of nucleic acids. This in turn also reduced the cytotoxic effect associated with the use of pyridinium amphiphiles. The effect of inclusion of colipids to lipoplex compaction, the robustness and the transfection efficiency of the lipid/nucleic acid lipoplex systems were assessed in detail, and correlations between formulation composition and biological activity were established. I was also able to show for the first time that pyridinium pseudo-gemini surfactants were able to compact different types of nucleic acids, including pDNA, mRNA and siRNA at lower charge ratios than standard, state-of-the art formulations used for this purposes. I also showed that irrespective to the nucleic acid compacted within the lipoplexes, the novel amphiphiles can efficiently deliver the cargo into the targeted cells even in the presence of very high concentration of serum, a premise for future use of these amphiphiles and formulations in vivo.

      Wunder, Stephanie L.; Strongin, Daniel R.; Matsika, Spiridoula; Ilies, Marc A. (Temple University. Libraries, 2012)
      This work is devoted to understanding the formation of supported lipid bilayers (SLBs) on curved surfaces as a function of lipid properties such as headgroup charge/charge density and alkyl chain length, and nanoparticle properties such as size and surface characteristics. In particular, the formation of SLBs on curved surfaces was studied by varying the size of the underlying substrate SiO2 nanoparticles with size range from 5-100 nm. Curvature-dependent shift in the phase transition behavior of these supported lipid bilayers was observed for the first time. We found that the phase transition temperature, Tm of the SLBs first decreased with decreasing the size of the underlying support, reached a minimum, and then increased when the size of the particles became comparable with the dimensions of the lipid bilayer thickness; the Tm was above that of the multilamellar vesicles (MLVs) of the same lipids. The increase in Tm indicated a stiffening of the supported bilayer, which was confirmed by Raman spectroscopic data. Moreover, Raman data showed better lipid packing and increased lateral order and trans conformation for the SLBs with increasing the curvature of the underlying support and decrease of the gauche kinks for the terminal methyl groups at the center of the bilayer. These results were consistent with a model in which the high free volume and increased outer headgroup spacing of lipids on highly curved surfaces induced interdigitation in the supported lipids. These results also support the symmetric lipid exchange studies of the SLBs as a function of the curvature, which was found to be slower on surfaces with higher curvature. Further, the effect of surface properties on the formation of SLBs was studied by changing the silanol density on the surface of SiO2 via thermal/chemical treatment and monitoring fusion of zwitterionic lipids onto silica (SiO2) nanoparticles. Our findings showed that the formation of SLBs was faster on the surfaces with lower silanol density and concomitantly less bound water compared to surfaces with higher silanol density and more bound water. Since the two SiO2 nanoparticles were similar in other respects, in particular their size and charge (ionization), as determined by zeta potential measurements, differences in electrostatic interactions between the neutral DMPC and SiO2 could not account for the difference. Therefore the slower rate of SLB formation of DMPC onto SiO2 nanoparticles with higher silanol densities and more bound water was attributed to greater hydration repulsion of the more hydrated nanoparticles. Lastly, we have investigated the effect and modulation of the surface charge of vesicles on the formation of SLBs by using different ratios of zwitterionic and cationic DMPC/DMTAP lipids. Through these studies we discovered a procedure by which assemblies of supported lipid bilayer nanoparticles, composed of DMPC/DMTAP (50/50) lipids on SiO2, can be collected and released from bilayer sacks as a function of the phase transition of these lipids. The lipids in these sacks and SLBs could be exchanged by lipids with lower Tm via lipid transfer.

      Unterwald, Ellen M.; Kirby, Lynn; Rawls, Scott M.; Sillivan, Stephanie E.; Bangasser, Debra A. (Temple University. Libraries, 2021)
      Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is initiated by traumatic-stress exposure and manifests into a collection of symptoms including increased anxiety, sleep disturbances, enhanced response to triggers, and increased sympathetic nervous system arousal. PTSD often co-occurs with alcohol use disorder. Only some individuals experiencing traumatic stress develop PTSD and a subset of individuals with PTSD develop co-occurring alcohol use disorder. Both men and women are at risk to develop PTSD and co-occurring alcohol use disorder when exposed to a traumatic event. Age at which the traumatic event occurred is also a major factor in developing PTSD and co-occurring alcohol use disorder. If exposure occurs during childhood or adolescence, individuals may be more resilient to these stresses compared to older individuals. Factors including sex and age have shown individual differences in developing PTSD and co-occurring alcohol use disorder and severity of disorders. However, what factors following traumatic stress exposure that predict resilience or vulnerability remain unknown. To investigate the basis of the individual responses to traumatic stress, single prolonged stress (SPS) a validated rodent model of traumatic stress was applied to young adult male and female rats and adolescent female rats. Individual behavioral responses to traumatic stress were characterized using anxiety-like behaviors with open field and elevated plus maze tests, fear-like behaviors with cue-reactivity, and depression-like behaviors with the forced swim test. Ethanol consumption following traumatic stress or control handling was measured by allowing individual rats to self-administer ethanol using an intermittent two bottle choice procedure for 8 weeks. Correlations within age and sex were used to determine which behavioral factors were predictive of ethanol consumption. Results demonstrate that different behavioral endpoints were predictive of subsequent drinking in males and females, and in adult and adolescent groups. Fear-like behavior was predictive of drinking in young adult males. Depression-like behavior was predictive of adolescent female ethanol consumption. Anxiety-like behavior was predictive of ethanol drinking in young adult females. These results indicate that resilience and vulnerability manifest differently after traumatic stress exposure depending on age and biological sex. Young adult females were further analyzed using an artificial intelligence algorithm that was developed to predict resilient and vulnerable individuals based on data from anxiety testing and ethanol consumption. Using the algorithm with the factors of time in center on the open field test and open arm entries on the elevated plus maze revealed that the population consisted of 3 groups with 24% classified as resilient and 41% classified as susceptible to high ethanol drinking. The artificial intelligence model was implemented in a second experiment to identify resilient and vulnerable adult female rats before ethanol exposure. Using the resilient and vulnerable animals identified from the artificial intelligence algorithm, analyses of neuropeptide Y (NPY) and its receptors Y1 and Y2 in the central nucleus of the amygdala (CeA), basolateral amygdala (BLA), and bed nucleus stria terminalis (BNST) were performed. The CeA, BLA, and BNST are important regions for PTSD and co-occurring alcohol use disorder. Results demonstrate that resilient rats had higher expression of Y2 mRNA in the CeA compared with vulnerable and control rats. In the BLA, the vulnerable rats had higher levels of Y1 compared to controls. In the BNST, NPY was elevated in resilient animals compared to controls. The results of the study show that an artificial intelligence algorithm can identify individual differences in response to traumatic stress and subsequent ethanol drinking, and the NPY pathway is differentially altered following traumatic stress exposure in resilient and vulnerable populations. Understanding neurochemical alterations following traumatic-stress exposure is critical in developing prevention strategies for the vulnerable phenotype and will help further development of novel therapeutic approaches for individuals suffering from PTSD and alcohol use disorder.

      Strongin, Daniel R.; Borguet, Eric; Dobereiner, Graham; Tehrani, Rouzbeh Afsarmanesh (Temple University. Libraries, 2020)
      The goal of the dissertation was to optimize synthetic parameters to tune the properties of two layered materials, MoS2 and MnO2 for applications such as antibacterial, energy storage and water remediation. Two aspects of the materials were investigated. Firstly, the synthetic parameters were tuned to prepare material with different morphologies and then the effect of morphology and structure on interaction with bacterial cells was studied. In the second part, the research was focused on tuning the synthetic parameters to improve the intrinsic conductivity of the material for electrocatalytic applications. This dissertation work primarily focuses on understanding the catalytic and antibacterial activity of layered MnO2 and MoS2. One research effort was focused on the antibacterial mode of action of layered nanosheets of MnO2 and MoS2 toward Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria. Bacillus subtilis and Escherichia coli bacteria were chosen as model organisms, which were treated individually with randomly oriented and vertically aligned nanosheets. Viability measurements of bacteria, by flow cytometry and fluorescence imaging, showed that vertically aligned MnO2 and MoS2 nanosheets revealed the highest antimicrobial activity and that Gram-positive bacteria showed a higher loss in membrane integrity, compared to Gram-negative bacteria. Moreover, scanning electron microscopy images suggested that the nanosheets compromised the cell wall upon interaction, which led to significant bacterial morphological changes. We propose that the peptidoglycan mesh in the bacterial wall is likely the primary target of the 2D layered nanomaterials. Another focus of the dissertation research investigated the effect of structural and geometrical changes of layered materials on the properties which affect the intrinsic conductivity of material. In the first study, the electrocatalytic activity of layer-by-layer (LbL) deposited 1T'-MoS2 (metallic phase) on a fluorine-doped tin oxide (FTO) substrate was investigated for the hydrogen evolution reaction (HER) as a function of layer number. Conversion of the deposited 1T'-MoS2 to the semiconducting 2H-MoS2 phase via exposure to 532 nm wavelength light, confirmed by Raman spectroscopy and scanning tunneling spectroscopy (STS), allowed a direct comparison of the HER activity of the two phases at a constant mass loading and surface area on the same substrate. The morphology, thickness and roughness of the deposited MoS2 layers as a function of the number of deposition cycles were investigated using atomic force microscopy (AFM) and scanning electron microscopy (SEM). The results showed that the average roughness of the surface increased with the number of deposition cycles, indicating that the thickness of the deposited layered material became heterogeneous with increasing cycle number. For a given number of deposition cycles (i.e., similar mass loading), 1T'-MoS2 exhibited a lower overpotential for the HER than the 2H-MoS2 phase. For example, at a sample thickness of 19.7 ± 2.8 nm (20 LbL cycle) the overpotentials for the HER for 1T'-MoS2 and 2H-MoS2 were 0.54 and 0.61 V, respectively (at a current density of -2 mA/cm2). Overall, the overpotential for HER associated with both MoS2 phases decreased as the mass loading increased. Our study revealed the heterogenous formation of few layer 1T'-MoS2 on the surface, providing a novel approach to improve HER activity towards water splitting applications. A further research effort studied birnessite, focusing on the activity of exfoliated birnessite and the role of birnessite defects for water oxidation. The catalytic activity of layered MnO2 has been studied widely. Birnessite has the lowest oxygen evolution reaction (OER) activity in alkaline media compared to other manganese oxide phases. A motivation for the study was to investigate the OER activity of exfoliated-restacked birnessite sheets which can lead to a better understanding of the birnessite catalytic performance. Synthesized birnessite was exfoliated into monolayer sheets via a cation exchange method. Characterization of the birnessite monolayer sheets using AFM and scanning tunneling microscopy (STM) revealed the presence of the holes and point defects. The phase and conductivity of monolayer sheets were measured by STS. Electrochemical characterizations of exfoliated birnessite have shown that nanosheets of birnessite expose a great number of active sites and exhibit facile electrode kinetics as a result of the defective sheets. In particular, the overpotential of exfoliated birnessite synthesized at 400°C was 450 mV compared to 550 mV for the exfoliated birnessite synthesized at 1000°C. The results indicate that the defective exfoliated sheets have higher conductivity and higher OER activity compared to defect free exfoliated sheets. Additional research of birnessite focused on its activity for the arsenite (i.e., As(III)) oxidation reaction. Birnessite polytypes were synthesized by decomposition of KMnO4 at different temperatures, and three polytypes including two-layer orthogonal (2O), two-layer hexagonal (2H) and three-layer rhombohedral (3R) were identified in the samples. The synthetic temperature controlled the phase formation and heterogeneity of the phases. Birnessite synthesized at 600°C contained 2H/3R phases which showed the highest activity with first order rate constant of the 0.741 h-1 which is 3.6 and 24 times higher than Birnessite synthesized at 800 and 1000°C, respectively. The structural change of the polytype birnessite after As(III) oxidation was studied by pair distribution function experiment. Results indicated that Mn4+ in the birnessite was reduced to Mn3+ and that this reduced species migrated from the in-layer position to the interlayer region. Furthermore, we report the results of in-situ AFM of birnessite sheets exposed to arsenite which provides a detailed understanding of the arsenite oxidation reaction at the birnessite surface. The reductive dissolution of birnessite was shown to be more active on the edges compared to the basal plane of birnessite. Our findings have important implications for material design aimed at removal of arsenite in purification processes.

      Neretina, Svetlana; Hutapea, Parsaoran; Neretina, Svetlana; Hutapea, Parsaoran; Yin, Jie; Zhang, Huichun (Judy); Borguet, Eric; Cormode, David Peter; Jahangir, Alireza (Temple University. Libraries, 2017)
      Nanostructures have potential for use in state-of-the-art applications such as sensing, imaging, therapeutics, drug delivery, and electronics. The ability to fabricate and engineer these nanoscale materials is essential for the continued development of such devices. Because the morphological features of nanomaterials play a key role in determining chemical and physical properties, there is great interest in developing and improving methods capable of controlling their size, shape, and composition. While noble nanoparticles have opened the door to promising applications in fields such as imaging, cancer targeting, photothermal treatment, drug delivery, catalysis and sensing, the synthetic processes required to form these nanoparticles on surfaces are not well-developed. Herein is a detailed account on efforts for adapting established solution-based seed-mediated synthetic protocols to structure in a substrate-based platform. These syntheses start by (i) defining heteroepitaxially oriented nanostructured seeds at site-specific locations using lithographic or directed-assembly techniques, and then (ii) transforming the seeds using either a solution or vapor phase processing route to activate kinetically- or thermodynamically-driven growth modes, to arrive at nanocrystals with complex and useful geometries. The first series of investigations highlight synthesis-routes based on heterogeneous nucleation, where templates serve as nucleation sites for metal atoms arriving in the vapor phase. In the first research direction, the vapor-phase heterogeneous nucleation of Ag on Au was carried out at high temperatures, where the Ag vapor was sourced from a sublimating foil onto adjacent Au templates. This process transformed both the composition and morphology of the initial Au Wulff-shaped nanocrystals to a homogeneous AuAg nanoprism. In the second case, the vapor-phase heterogeneous nucleation of Cu atoms on Au nanocrystal templates was investigated by placing a Cu foil next to Au templates and heating, which caused the Cu atoms from the foil to sublimate from the foil and heterogeneously nucleation on the surface of the immobilized Au seeds. This process caused the composition and morphology of the Au Wulff-shape to transform into a homogeneous AuCu nanotriangle. Lastly, we characterized the morphological features and composition, optical properties, and also the catalytic and photocatalytic performance toward hydrogenation of 4-nitrophenolate. The second series of investigations highlight synthetic routes utilizing competencies of substrate-based techniques with colloidal chemistry. We have demonstrated two substrate-based syntheses yielding bimetallic nanostructures where shape control was achieved through (i) facet-selective capping agents and (ii) additive and subtractive process. In the first case a citrate-based cubic structure has been synthesized in the presence or absence of ascorbic acid and the role of each has been considered in shape control. Reactions were carried out in which Ag+ ions were reduced onto substrate-immobilized Ag, Au, Pd, and Pt seeds. It was discovered that for syntheses lacking ascorbic acid, citrate acts as both the capping and the reducing agent, resulting in a robust nanocube growth mode; however, when ascorbic acid was included in these syntheses, then the growth mode reverted to one that advances the octahedral geometry. The conclusion of these results was that citrate, or one of its oxidation products, selectively caps (100) facets, but where this capability was compromised by ascorbic acid. In the second case, galvanic replacement reactions have been carried out on immobilized cubic and Wulff structures to create the substrate-based nanoshells and nanocages, where the prepositioned templates were chemically transformed into hollow structures. In this novel research, Wulff-shaped templates of Au, Pt, or Pd, formed through the dewetting of ultrathin films, were first transformed into core−shell structures through the reduction of Ag+ ions onto their surface and then further transformed through the galvanic replacement of Ag with Au. Detailed studies were provided highlighting discoveries related to (i) alloying, (ii) dealloying, (iii) hollowing, (iv) crystal structure and (vi) the localized surface plasmon resonance (LSPR). Overall, a series of synthetic strategies based on physical and chemical vapor deposition were devised and validated to achieve novel substrate- based nanomaterials with different shapes and compositions for a variety of applications such as sensing, plasmonics, catalysis, and photocatalysis. The novel research in this dissertation also takes advantage of competencies of substrate-based techniques with colloidal chemistry and, brings this rich and exciting chemistry and its associated functionalities to the substrate surface.

      Fischer-Smith, Tracy; Rappaport, Jay; Langford, Dianne; Kolson, Dennis L.; Wigdahl, Brian (Temple University. Libraries, 2015)
      While combination anti-retroviral therapy (cART) has improved the length and quality of life of individuals living with HIV-1 infection, the prevalence of HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders (HAND) has increased and remains a significant clinical concern. The neuropathogenesis of HAND is not completely understood, however, latent HIV infection in the central nervous system (CNS) and chronic neuroinflammation are believed to play a prominent role. CNS-associated macrophages and resident microglia are significant contributors to CNS inflammation and constitute the chief reservoir of HIV-1 infection in the CNS. Previous studies from our lab suggest monocyte/macrophage invasion of the CNS in HIV may be driven by altered monocyte/macrophage homeostasis. We have reported expansion of a monocyte subset (CD14+CD16+CD163+) in peripheral blood of HIV+ patients that is phenotypically similar to macrophages/microglia that accumulate in the CNS as seen in post-mortem tissue. The factors driving the expansion of this monocyte subset are unknown, however, signaling through cFMS, a type III receptor tyrosine kinase (RTK), may play a role. Macrophage-colony stimulating factor (M-CSF), a ligand of cFMS, has been shown to be elevated in the cerebral spinal fluid (CSF) of individuals with the most severe form of HAND, HIV-associated dementia (HAD). M-CSF promotes a Macrophage-2-like phenotype and increases CD16 and CD163 expression in cultured monocytes. M-CSF has also been shown to increase the susceptibility of macrophages to HIV infection and enhance virus production. These findings, in addition to the known function of M-CSF in promoting macrophage survival, supports a role for M-CSF in the development and maintenance of macrophage viral reservoirs in tissues where these cells accumulate, including the CNS. Interestingly, a second ligand for cFMS, IL-34, was recently identified and reported to share some functions with M-CSF, suggesting that both ligands may contribute to HIV-associated CNS injury and AIDS pathogenesis. Through immunohistochemical studies using a relevant animal model of HIV infection, SIV infected rhesus macaques, we reported the presence of M-CSF and IL-34 in the brains of seronegative and SIV+ animals, for the first time, and identified spatial differences in the expression of these ligands. Important to our interest in viral persistence in the CNS, we observed the predominance of M-CSF expression in brain to be by cells that comprise perivascular cuffs and nodular lesions, which contain monocytes/ macrophages that have migrated into the CNS. IL-34 appeared to be a tissue-specific ligand expressed by resident microglia. Like M-CSF, we found that IL-34 also increased the frequency of CD16+CD163+ monocytes in vitro. We further investigated the potential of cFMS inhibition as a means to abrogate macrophage-2-like immune polarization using the small molecule tyrosine kinase inhibitor (TKI), GW2580. The addition of GW2580 abolished cFMS ligand-mediated increases in CD16+CD163+ monocyte frequency in human peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) as well as virus production in HIV infected primary human microglia. Furthermore, we found cFMS-mediated upregulation of CD16 and CD163 to be relevant to an additional disease process, high-grade astrocytomas, suggesting that M-CSF and IL-34 may be mediators of other neuroinflammatory diseases, as well. We hope these findings will provide insight into the role of altered monocyte/macrophage homeostasis in HIV disease and identify a novel strategy for targeting long-lived cellular reservoirs of HIV infection through restored immune homeostasis.