Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

First Advisor

Aravamudhan, Dr. Shyam


With a widespread use of nanomaterials in various manufacturing applications including consumer goods, semiconductor industry and pharmaceuticals, the safety of Engineering Nanomaterials (ENs) is a vital area of research. It is extremely important to analyze the risks posed by ENs in order to optimize design and/or control their use. The overarching goal of this work is to understand the cytotoxicity and cellular uptake potential of specific EN of well characterized physicochemical properties. Towards this objective, the specific aims of this project are to (a) comprehensively characterize the physical and chemical properties of starting ENs, (b) study their dose and time-course cytotoxic responses using cell viability assays and (c) assess cellular uptake of nanomaterials in mammalian cell types. Three nanomaterials were studied in this work - gold nanorods, zinc oxide and silica nanoparticles. The mammalian cell types used include 3T3 fibroblasts, neuronal PC12 and Normal Human Bronchial Epithelial (NHBE) cells. The extent of toxicity on these cell lines is studied by first characterizing the ENs using XRD, DLS and SEM analysis to determine physical and chemical properties prior to introduction. Next, cytotoxicity response is acquired using viability assay studies such as MTT and LDH assay. This analysis is further substantiated by using SEM and confocal microscopy to correlate dose-dependent cytotoxicity to morphological changes. Lastly, cellular uptake of the nanomaterials is investigated. Toxicity of nanomaterials is found to increase with concentration and is dependent on the properties of the material and the target species.