Toxicological assessment of gold nanoparticles

Advances in nanotechnology have resulted in the development of novel engineered nanomaterials with different physicochemical properties for numerous applications in the electronic, chemical, biological and medical fields. Engineered metal nanoparticles (ENPs) are among the most widely studied nanomaterials used in biomedical applications, including biosensors, targeted drug and gene delivery, tracking and theranostics. Our group also uses peptide amphiphile structures, supermagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles (SPIONs) and gold nanoparticles for drug delivery and imaging purposes; however, the environmental impact of these nanoparticles are not fully detailed in the literature. As such, we are currently focusing on determining the toxic effects of these materials on various cell lines. In particular, we are using gold nanoparticles as a case study to illustrate the importance of the biological milieu (i.e. the environment that a nanoparticle experiences within an organism) on the uptake, transport and toxicity mechanisms of nanomaterials.

Selected publications:

Unal Gulsuner H, Ceylan H, Guler MO, Tekinay AB.  Multi-Domain Short Peptide Molecules for In situ Synthesis and Biofunctionalization of Gold Nanoparticles for Integrin-Targeted Cell Uptake, ACS Appl Mater Inferfaces. 2015; DOI: 10.1021/acsami.5b00093