Interaction between cells and magnetic nanoparticles for synergic magnetic and plasmonic-based hyperthermia studies


Project Description

It is known that promoting nanoparticles uptake from cells could bring to several applications. Among these application, two are based on the capability of nanostructured object to produce heat. In fact, if the nanoparticles are magnetic and showing a non-null hysteresis loop from room temperature to more than 45 degrees, they are able to produce heat once put in an oscillating magnetic field of proper strength and frequency. As well, a similar effect could be obtained irradiating gold nanoparticles with light of proper wavelength. The main aim of this project is then promoting the nanoparticles uptake from glioblastoma STEM cells, being the glioblastoma the most aggressive brain tumor. To enhance the heating effect, the cells will be treated with bot magnetic and gold nanoparticles, then submitted to a concomitant alternative magnetic field and light irradiation, in order to get a synergic response from the two heating nanopopulations. If possible, also a control cell line (healthy astrocytes) will be submitted to the same treatment to compare the nanoparticles uptake with that observed in the glioblastoma STEM cells. The effect of the nanoparticles uptake will be measured from a macroscopic point of view (i.e., by studying the possible temperature increase) and the cell overall structure and ultrastructure will be investigated, before and after the treatment with the nanoparticles, by both confocal and electron microscopy imaging.If successful, the student will be proposed to pursue this study in the framework of a Kaust PhD course.​​​
Program - BioScience
Division - Biological and Environmental Sciences and Engineering
Field of Study - ​Physics, Physical engineering, Physics engineering

About the

Andrea Falqui

Associate Professor, Bioscience

Andrea Falqui
Professor Falqui's research interests lie in the frontier between material science and bioscience. His main expertise is in electron microscopy both in scanning and transmission mode and related spectroscopies applied to nano-shaped inorganic materials and biomaterials.

In addition, his studies also concern the magnetic behavior of nanoparticles by superconducting quantum interference device (SQUID) magnetometry.

Desired Project Deliverables

​At the end of the internship the student is expected to know: the basics of cells culture, how to give them the nanoparticles, how to measure the specific absorption rate of the sole magnetic nanoparticles, the basics of cells preparation in view of light and electron microscopy, the basics of light and electron microscopy cells imaging. Twice per month the student will participate to a meeting with the PI and his team, in order to show and discuss his/her progress in the research project. Besides, at the end of the internship period, he/she will write a short, referenced report about the results he/she will get.​