Date of Graduation

Spring 2022


Master of Science in Biology



Committee Chair

Kyoungtae Kim


The study of the interaction of engineered nanoparticles, including quantum dots (QDs), with cellular constituents and the kinetics of their localization and transport, has provided new insights into their biological consequences in cancers and for the development of effective cancer therapies. The present study aims to elucidate the toxicity and intracellular transport kinetics of CdSe/ZnS and InP/ZnS QDs in late-stage ML-1 thyroid cancer using well-tested HeLa cells as a control. The XTT viability assay showed that ML-1 cells, and non-cancerous mouse fibroblast cells, exhibit no viability defect in response to these QDs, whereas HeLa cell viability decreases. These results suggest that HeLa cells are more sensitive to the QDs compared to ML-1 cells. To test the possibility that transporting rates of QDs are different between HeLa and ML-1 cells, I performed a QD subcellular localization assay by determining Pearson’s Coefficient values and found that HeLa cells showed faster QDs transporting towards the lysosome. Consistently, the ICP-OES test showed the uptake of CdSe/ZnS QDs in HeLa cells was significantly higher than in ML-1 cells. Together, I conclude that high levels of toxicity in HeLa cells are positively correlated with the traffic rate of QDs in the treated cells.


CdSe/ZnS, InP/ZnS, quantum dots, HeLa, ML-1, cancer, intracellular trafficking, distribution

Subject Categories

Cancer Biology | Cell Biology | Nanomedicine


© Min Zhang

Open Access