Date of Graduation

Summer 2021


Master of Science in Biology



Committee Chair

Kyoungtae Kim


Indium Phosphide/Zinc Sulfide (InP/ZnS) quantum dots (QDs) are an emerging option in QD technologies for uses of fluorescent imaging as well as targeted drug and anti-cancer therapies based on their customizable properties. In this study we explored effects of InP/ZnS when treated with HeLa cervical cancer cells. We employed XTT viability assays, reactive oxygen species (ROS) analysis, and apoptosis analysis to better understand cytotoxicity extents at different concentrations of InP/ZnS. In addition, we compared the transcriptome profile from the QDtreated HeLa cells with that of untreated HeLa cells to identify changes to the transcriptome in response to the QD. Intracellular modes of action were illustrated. Our study determined both IC50 concentration of 69 µg/mL and MIC concentration of 167 µg/mL of InP/ZnS. It was observed via XTT assay that cell viability decreased significantly at the MIC. In analysis of median fluorescent intensity (MFI) using ROS assay and flow cytometry, cells positive for producing both superoxide and peroxynitrite increased in intensity compared to the control. Using analysis of apoptosis, we found that induced cell death in the QD-treated samples was shown to be significantly increased when compared to untreated cells. We conclude InP/ZnS QD to decrease cell viability by inducing stress via ROS levels, apoptosis induction, and alteration of transcriptome.


quantum dot, HeLa, nanoparticle, cancer, apoptosis, genome, InP/ZnS

Subject Categories

Biology | Cell Biology


© Victoria Grace Davenport

Open Access