Nanomaterials Synthesis/Characterization Laboratories

Nanomaterials synthesis and characterization labs are led by Dr. Dipak Maity, Assistant Professor, Department of Mechanical Engineering.

This lab largely focuses on the synthesis and development of magnetic materials, especially superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles (SPIONs), for real-time biomedical applications including magnetic hyperthermia therapy (MHT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), magnetic targeting (MagTr) and drug delivery for the simultaneous diagnosis and treatment of cancers.

Cancer is one of the major diseases that causes concern among the medical/scientific communities in modern world. Cancer disease prevails in spite of the available and emerging anti-cancer medicines, progressive medical advances, sophisticated instruments for clear identification, and multiple therapies including but not limited to chemotherapies, high-energy ionic radiation therapies, immunotherapies and many more. The possible reasons could be:

  1. That the cancer cells evolve by creating resistance to the therapies and anti-tumor medications

  2. The short-term efficacy of present-day treatments

  3. The lack of efficiency of medicines to completely eradicate cancer cells and

  4. That the medicines are removed from body rapidly through normal biological excretion process. Thus, new therapies and medicines need to develop to deduce these problems after careful investigations.

The nanoparticles, especially superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles(SPIONs)-based nanomedicines have been introduced in cancer treatments because of their unique magnetic properties, biocompatibility, biodegradability, and less cytotoxicity to normal cells. The SPIONs can be utilized simultaneously in both cancer therapeutics and diagnostics (theranostics) via MHT and MRI respectively.

MRI is an important tool in diagnosing cancer since it does not engage in harmful irradiations. The SPIONs can increase the contrast of specific tissues of human body due to their excellent transverse relaxivities. Moreover, the cancer MHT treatment is getting a great deal of attention because of its ability for producing heat (thermal shock) locally at the tumor site to effectively kill the cancer cells or to reduce the cancer cell's viability. Moreover, the SPIONs are also extensively utilized in cell labeling, magnetofection, and other biomedical applications.

Our primary research goal is to synthesize/characterize high quality hydrophilic/ hydrophobic SPIONs (with good colloidal stability, high crystallinity, and enhanced magnetic properties) using different, robust, novel surfactant coatings via one-pot chemical methods such as co-precipitation and thermal decomposition for improving the relaxivities in MRI and achieving high specific absorption rate (SAR) values in calorimetric hyperthermia to enhance their efficacy in cancer theranostics. Further, our other goals include the development of smart drug delivery vehicles by co-encapsulating the SPIONs with anti-cancer drugs/channel blockers and/or imaging/targeting agents into the polymeric micelle/niosomes/liposome systems to provide a multi-functional approach to efficiently diagnose and kill the drug-resistant cancer cells in a site-specific manner. In addition, we also synthesize/characterize novel carbon quantum dots for use with SPIONs for effective optical imaging of cancer cells.


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