Degree Name

MS (Master of Science)



Date of Award


Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Robert Frank Standaert

Committee Members

Hua Mei, Catherine McCusker, Aleksey Vasiliev


This work focused on engineering bi-functionalized nanoparticles (NPs) based on carbon dots (CDs) to improve early cancer detection and treatment. Therefore, using folic acid (FA) as a targeting agent, the CDs were prepared to deliver high concentrations (HC) of doxorubicin (DOX) and gemcitabine (GEM) covalently and non-covalently to cancer cells. The prepared FA-CDs-DOX/GEM-HC NPs were characterized using ultraviolet-visible spectroscopy, fluorescence spectroscopy, and Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy. Assessment of the drug loading capacity (DLC) and drug loading efficiency (DLE) indicated that the non-covalent NPs have low DLC but high DLE compared to the relatively low DLE and high DLC of covalent NPs. In vitro drug release studies showed that the DOX/GEM release rate was faster at pH 5.0 in the non-covalent FA-CDs-DOX/GEM-HC NPs than covalent. Also, the non-covalent FA-CDs-DOX-HC NPs showed greater percentage cumulative drug release and lower cell viability in the MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cell line compared to covalent.

Document Type

Thesis - unrestricted


Copyright by the authors.