Development of nano-scale and biomimetic surfaces for biomedical applications



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Texas A&M University


The work described in this dissertation details the development of a biomimetic materials for use in sensors and therapeutics, based on new advances in material science. The sensors developed herein target neurodegenerative diseases. Two of the diseases, the transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs) and Alzheimer??????s disease (AD), are diseases associated with the abnormal folding of a protein, thus detecting the disease is dependent upon developing structure specific sensor technologies. Both sensors developed in this work take advantage of the unique optical properties associated with nanoscale metal particles, however they use different types of spectroscopies for optical detection of the presence of the disease associated abnormal protein, and different types of recognition elements that bring the disease associated proteins close to the nanoscale metal particles. In the case of TSEs, the recognition element was a commercially available antibody. In the case of AD, the recognition element was a molecular scale self-assembled surface. A therapeutic for AD was developed based on the molecular scale materials developed for the AD biosensor. Mathematical models were developed that facilitated the rational design of the biosensors described in this work that could also be used in future biosensor development.