Date of Graduation

Spring 2011


Master of Science in Cell and Molecular Biology


Biomedical Sciences

Committee Chair

Robert DeLong


zinc, zinc oxide nanomaterials, cancer cell, zeta potential, protein binding, absorbance, fluorescence, morphology, growth, trypan-blue, viability, cell death

Subject Categories

Medical Molecular Biology


Nanomaterials are one of the yields of sub-micron scale manufacturing that come in many different compositions, sizes, and shapes. Such features enable their potential entrance through the cell membrane, and there is a great deal of interest in them as an emerging strategy for fighting cancer. This study sought to characterize and compare three types of ZnO nanomaterials for their enhanced lethal effects on human cancer cells regarding impeded morphology and growth/proliferation, altered protein production, and observed cell death. Nanomaterial physicochemical properties and protein interaction characteristics were assessed by shape, composition, size, zeta potential, fluorescence, and absorbance using Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM), X-ray Diffraction (XRD), Dynamic Laser Light Scattering (DLLS) technology, spectrofluorophotometry, and UV/Visible light spectroscopy, respectively. The morphological and physiological changes of A375 melanoma cells and HeLa cells treated with ZnO nanomaterials were evaluated by light microscopy, BCA, Trypan-Blue exclusion assays, and 7-day growth curve. Experimentation uncovered a unique ZnO nanoseries consisting of nanoparticles, nanobelts, and microbelts. Each nanomaterial evinced notable interaction with albumin; the nanobelts displayed the greatest affinity for both proteins used. A375 and HeLa cells treated with the ZnO nanoseries disclosed significant cytotoxic effects that involved changes in shape, intracellular protein production, and viability of both cancer cell types.


© Laurie Lee Washington

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