User:Michaela Harper/Notebook/Biological Chemistry Lab

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Project Description/Abstract

We are performing research to synthesize gold nanoparticles using BSA (bovine serum albumin). Our work will expand off of the work done developing protein films by Bakshi, et al (doi:10.1021/jp110296y).


For the Spring semester, the following project is proposed:

Biomineralization is a rapidly expanding field focusing on the synthesis of metal nanoparticles using biomolecules to control nanoparticle creation. Recently, Bakshi et al have synthesized gold nanoparticles in a non-toxic manner using chloroauric acid and bovine serum albumin. Nanoparticles created in this manner have the potential to be functionalized and used in biotechnological applications such as tumor detection and rheumatoid arthritis treatment.


Gold nanoparticles are already utilized in many types of microscopy. Zheng et al report that metal nanoparticles can be used as universal probes for five types of microscopy: bright field, dark field, fluorescence, Raman, and two-photon excitation microscopy. In addition, functionalized gold nanoparticles have the potential to be used to treat tumors. Pissuwan et al found that gold nanoparticles resonate in response to incoming radiation, causing them to absorb and scatter light. This can be utilized to destroy tissue through local heating. In addition, Pissuwan et al found that gold nanoparticles can be conjugated to become biologically active, meaning that it could be possible to use them to target specific tissues for destruction.


In this study, we will examine the effects of various refolding buffers on nanoparticle aggregation. By using UV/Vis Spectroscopy, it will be possible to determine what refolding buffers will lead to functionalization. Gold nanoparticles (AuNPs) were synthesized by using bovine serum albumin (BSA) and chloroauric acid (HAuCl4). The physical state of BSA plays a vital role in biomineralization as it affects the physical properties of the AuNPs synthesized. After the formation of the purple fibers, various refolding buffers will be examined in order to find out the most stable solution.

Spring 2012 Projects

For the Spring 2012 semester, we will be working to further understand the gold nanoparticles that have been synthesized. I work in a group with Elaine Robbins and Samiye Yaman. Our projects include:

  • Determine the process by which refolding buffers affect the nanoparticle aggregate using UV/VIS spectroscopy.
  • Test methods of removing gold nanoparticles from BSA protein while keeping them in solution.
  • Determine optimum methods of adding nanoparticle solution to refolding buffer.
  • Compare various refolding buffer options to determine the most stable solution using UV/VIS spectroscopy.

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