Oral Defense Examination : Optimized Synthesis of AIEGEN and Drug Loaded Polymer Nanoparticles for Theranostic Applications

Speaker Purnima Naresh Manghnani (Supervisor: Prof Liu Bin)

Host Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering

Date/Time 09 Nov - 09 Nov, 3.00pm

Venue E5-02-32 , Faculty of Engineering, National University of Singapore


Sophisticated theranostic nanoplatforms that enable drug delivery and optical tracing have attracted significant research interest. Recently aggregation induced emission (AIE) molecules have shown to possess the advantage of being multi-functional agents. Upon strategic molecular design, they can be imparted with therapeutic and contrast functionalities. Therefore, in this work, AIE molecules are employed as the cargo of interest for theranostic nano-delivery. Nanoprecipitation was used to encapsulate hydrophobic AIE aggregates in an amphiphilic polymer and batch nanoprecipitation method was replaced with flash nanoprecipitation in a turbulent jet mixer. Since, synthesizing polymeric nanoparticles (NPs) of specified size and distribution can help us define the biological dependence on the morphology with higher certainty, controlled NP synthesis through flash nanoprecipitation became the primary goal of this work. To demonstrate the efficacy of the NPs synthesized through flash nanoprecipitation, zebrafish served as the ideal high-throughput model. In this study, zebrafish helps us evaluate the biocompatibility and bio-distribution of various theranostic nano-formulations. Subsequently, we have optimized image-guided photodynamic therapy in zebrafish larvae using AIE photosensitizer NPs. Highly fluorescent AIE NP labelled cancer cells were also grafted in zebrafish larvae, thereby, enabling long-term visualization of cancer cell migration, angiogenesis and therapy. The principles of nanoprecipitation were further applied to encapsulate AIE nanocrystals in a polymeric shell through a two-step process to render them suitable for bio-imaging applications.