Saint Louis, MO
Mentor: Ben Evans
Project title: Folate-conjugated magnetic microspheres for targeted cancer cell treatment
This semester was very productive as I finalized two protocols and continued gathering data with my HeLa cell line at UNC Chapel Hill. In order to assess the preferential binding of my folic acid conjugated magnetic microspheres to cancer cells, I needed to make the spheres fluorescent. Toward the beginning of the semester, I tried basic absorption methods with non-polar fluorophore dyes without much success. Luckily, because the folic acid attachment involves a simple EDAC reaction, I used Alexa Fluor’s 488 carboxylic acid succinimidyl ester fluorophore and concurrently bound it during folic acid attachment. Using these new samples and plated HeLa cells, I gathered data by fluorescent microscopy that suggests what I sought to find in my Lumen proposal—the preferential binding of spheres conjugated with folic acid compared to uncoated microspheres. Additional data will be taken this summer using a flow cytometer. I have also begun researching extensions to my proposal including using cells with and without the folic acid receptor and conjugating other ligands to the surface to target additional types of cancer. This semester, I presented my research at Biophysics in San Diego, California and Elon University’s SURF, and will be finishing a manuscript for publication in early Fall 2012.
Link to story on Goldwater Scholarship Honorable Mention
Dr. Ann J. Cahill
Professor of Philosophy
Spence Pavilion 111
2340 Campus Box
Elon, NC 27244
Phone: (336) 278-5703
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