Faculty Advisor

Dempski, Robert E.

Faculty Advisor

Rolle, Marsha W.

Project Center

University of Massachusetts Medical Center


Upconverting nanoparticles (UCNP) were characterized as siRNA transfection agents, in an approach to target superoxide dismutase 1 (SOD1), a protein implicated in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Two UCNP designs were tested: (1) NaYF4:Yb,Er@NaYF4 core/shell nanoparticles with polyethylene imine (PEI) coating and (2) NaYF4:Yb,Er@CaF2 core/shell nanoparticles with a citric acid/PEI coating. The NaYF4-shell particles exhibited a low toxic range, but effective plasmid and siRNA delivery, quantified through green fluorescent protein (GFP) expression and SOD1 knockdown in Western blots. The CaF2–shell particles had a greater working range, but were less effective for payload delivery. Continued research is needed to optimize a UCNP with high cell tolerance and high transfection efficiency.


Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Date Accepted

March 2012


Biomedical Engineering

Project Type

Major Qualifying Project



Advisor Department

Chemistry and Biochemistry

Advisor Department

Biomedical Engineering

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