Faculty Advisor

Adams, David S.

Faculty Advisor

Heilman, Destin

Project Center

University of Massachusetts Medical Center


In vivo optical imaging of proteolysis in inflammatory and tumor microenvironments can be monitored through excitable fluorophore-labeled probes using a graft copolymer of poly(ethylene glycol) and poly-L-lysine as a carrier molecule. In this project, both in vitro and cell culture experiments were performed to investigate the major mechanisms of PGC-fluorophore probe cleavage via stromal cell proteases. It was observed that trypsin-mediated cleavage of PGC-fluorophore probes results in distinct fragment sizes, a 2-fold increase in fluorescence intensity, and a rapid 1.5-fold increase in fluorescence lifetime. Finally, it was observed that human squamous carcinoma cells uptake probes faster than normal human dermal fibroblasts with a greater fluorescence intensity over time.


Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Date Accepted

April 2013


Biology and Biotechnology

Project Type

Major Qualifying Project



Advisor Department

Biology and Biotechnology

Advisor Department

Chemistry and Biochemistry