Date of Graduation

Summer 2023


Master of Science in Materials Science


Physics, Astronomy, and Materials Science

Committee Chair

Robert Mayanovic


Chitosan is a fibrous substance that is derived from chitin, a natural substance in the shells of crustaceans. It possesses all the necessary qualities for being used as carrier for the transport of drugs and genes into tumor, such as biodegradability, biocompatibility, hydrophilicity, and non-toxicity and cationic in nature. Ionic gelation method was used to synthesize chitosan (CS) nanoparticles (NPs). Ionic gelation is a very benign process chemically that requires mixing a CS aqueous solution with a sodium tripolyphosphate (TPP) aqueous solution at room temperature. In addition, a surfactant polyethylene oxide (PEO) alone and a diblock copolymer of PEO and polyglycolic oxide (PPG) were functionalized on the CSNPs for separate samples. The size of the chitosan nanoparticles (CSNPs) produced range from 9-51 nm for chitosan concentrations of 0.5% W/V, 12-65 nm for chitosan concentrations of 1% W/V, 7-24 nm for 1% W/V with PEO, and 19-49 nm for 1% W/V with PEO-PPG, as determined from TEM analysis. Results suggest that altering the ratio of CS/PEO-PPG and CS/TPP directly affects the nanoparticle size and extent of aggregation in solution. The amorphous to semi-crystalline structure of CSNPs was confirmed using XRD and TEM analysis. According to the XRD results, the CNSPs overall crystallinity decreases with CS concentration. However, adding the diblock copolymer increases the crystallinity of the CSNPs significantly, even at the higher concentration of 1% W/V. Further work was conducted to study the effectiveness of CSNPs as a drug delivery system to treat cervical cancer (HeLa cells). In vitro HeLa cell culture assay tests were made using concentrations containing 1% W/V and 0.25% W/V CSNPs. Due to their best solubility in solution, CSNPs at the lowest concentration of 0.25% W/V are conjectured to have the greater penetration power into HeLa cells. The 0.25% W/V CSNPs, CSNPs + PEO, and CSNPs + PEO + PPG, respectively, had Zeta potentials of 13.32 ± 1.06 mV, 10.77 ± 3.45 mV and 13.70 ± 4.01 mV, indicating some tendency for agglomeration of the NPs in solution. The methoxynitrosulfophenyl-tetrazolium carboxanilide (XTT) assay protocol/viability assay test was used for in vitro research on HeLa cells. When compared to assay results for CS and varying quantities of Gemcitabine, the results were inconclusive for efficacy of CSNPs for cytotoxicity to HeLa cells.


chitosan, chitosan nanoparticles, ionic gelation, drug delivery, cervical cancer, Gemcitabine, Cisplatin, HeLa cells

Subject Categories

Biology and Biomimetic Materials | Nanomedicine | Nanoscience and Nanotechnology | Polymer and Organic Materials


© Rejeena Jha

Available for download on Tuesday, August 25, 2026

Open Access