Document Type



Biomedical Engineering

First Advisor's Name

Chenzhong Li

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Steven J. Melnick

Third Advisor's Name

Yen-Chih Huang

Fourth Advisor's Name

Anthony McGoron

Fifth Advisor's Name

Dwayne McDaniel

Date of Defense



Nanoparticles (NPs) play a crucial role in delivering therapeutic drugs to cancer cells. Understanding the interaction of NPs with cell surfaces and their internalization is imperative to develop a fully efficient drug delivery vehicle. In this study, atomic force microscopy (AFM) was used to evaluate the dynamic interactions of non-targeted and targeted poly (lactic-co-glycolic acid) (PLGA) NPs with ovarian cancer cells in native environmental conditions. Results demonstrated that the cells incubated in targeted NPs solution for 3 hours showed a 112% increase in cell surface roughness, whereas cells incubated in non-targeted NPs showed only a 38% increase. Cell surface roughness, when incubated for 6 hours, was higher for non-targeted NPs. The changes in cell membrane surface roughness were also monitored for NPs encapsulated with a doxorubicin drug. Based on the results it was concluded that the targeted NPs will attach to the cell membrane and internalize faster than the non-targeted NPs.