Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Chemistry (PhD)

College, School or Department Name

Department of Chemistry


Patricia A. Heiden


This dissertation is related to the studies of functionalized nanoparticles for self-assembly and as controlled drug delivery system. The whole topic is composed of two parts. In the first part, the research was conducted to design and synthesize a new type of ionic peptide-functionalized copolymer conjugates for self-assembly into nanoparticle fibers and 3D scaffolds with the ability of multi-drug loading and governing the release rate of each drug for tissue engineering. The self-assembly study confirmed that such peptide-functionalized amphiphilic copolymers underwent different self-assembly behavior. The bigger nanoparticles were more easily assembled into nanoparticle fibers and 3D scaffolds with larger pore size, while the smaller nanoparticle underwent faster self-assembly to form more compact 3D scaffolds with smaller porosity but more stable structure. Controlled release studies confirmed the ability of governing simultaneous release of different model drugs with independent release rate from a same scaffold. Cytotoxicity tests showed that all synthesized peptides, copolymers and peptide-copolymer conjugates were biocompatible with SW-620 cell lines and NIH3T3 cell lines. This new type of self-assembled scaffolds combined the advantages of peptide nanofibers and versatile controlled release of polymeric nanoparticles to achieve simultaneous multi-drug loading and controlled release of each drug, uniform distribution and flexibility of hydrogel scaffolds.

The investigations in second part were first to design and synthesize organic biocide-loaded nanoparticles for low-leaching wood preservation using a cost-effective one-pot method to synthesize amphiphilic chitosan-g-PMMA nanoparticles loading with ~25-28 wt.% of the fungicide tebuconazole with particle size of ~100 nm diameter by FESEM. FESEM analysis confirmed efficient penetration of nanoparticles throughout the treated wooden stake with dimension of 19 × 19 × 455 mm^3. Leaching studies showed that biocide introduced into sapwood via nanoparticles leached only ~9% compared with the amount leached from tebuconazole solution-treated control, while soil jar tests showed that the nanoparticle-treated wood blocks were effectively protected from biological decay tested against G. trabeum, a brown rot fungus.

Copper oxide nanoparticles with and without polymer stabilizers were also investigated to use as inorganic wood preservatives to clarify the factor affecting copper leaching from treated wood. Copper oxide nanoparticles with uniform diameters of ~10 nm and ~50 nm were prepared, and the leachates from southern pine sapwood treated with these nanoparticles were analyzed. It was found by TEM and EDS analysis that significant numbers of nanoparticles leached from the treated wood. The 50 nm nanoparticles leached slightly less than a soluble copper salt control, but 10 nm nanoparticles leached substantially more than the control. The effect of polymer stabilizers on nanoparticle leaching was also investigated. Results showed that polymer stabilizers increased leaching. The trends showed that nanoparticle size was a major factor in copper leaching.