2020 USRA - Binding of Biopactive Molecules to PhytoSpherix nanoparticles

Job Information

Binding of Biopactive Molecules to PhytoSpherix nanoparticles

Proposed Start Date:  May 4, 2020


The student will fabricate custom PhytoSpherix-gold glass slides for use in the SPR experiments. The student will then perform SPR imaging experiments that will involve flowing solutions of bioactive molecules, including proteins, into the SPR flow cell and measuring the increase in the scattered intensity near the SPR minimum with time, bioactive concentration and environmental conditions. These data will be used to develop guiding principles to enhance the solubilization and stabilization of bioactive molecules through association with PhytoSpherix particles, which should lead to new applications of this natural, safe, sustainable nanotechnology.

Preferred qualifications: Second- or third-year student in physics, chemistry or nanoscience


John Dutcher, Professor
Department of Physics

Brief Outline of Proposed Research Project

The student will be directly involved in surface plasmon resonance (SPR) imaging measurements that will be used to characterize the binding affinities and kinetics of bioactive molecules with highly branched, compact polysaccharide nanoparticles (PhytoSpherix). In the SPR technique, measurement of changes to the SPR condition for an ultrathin gold film upon adsorption of bioactive molecules allow the determination of the amount of adsorbed bioactive and the time scale of adsorption. 

This work will be done in collaboration with Mirexus, a Guelph-based spinoff company from the Dutcher Lab that is commercializing the PhytoSpherix technology. The student will interact directly with Mirexus scientists.