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Author ORCID Identifier


Campus-Only Access for Five (5) Years

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Program

Chemical Engineering

Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded


First Advisor

John Klier

Subject Categories

Biochemical and Biomolecular Engineering | Polymer Science


Nanoparticles are ideal candidates for surface modification. For coating systems, polymer particles can be designed to interact with pigment to improve optical properties and reduce environmental impact. Nanotherapeutics may be modified to localize drug molecules in cancerous tissue thereby maximizing therapeutic efficacy. In this thesis, nanoparticle systems were functionalized for two applications: 1) encapsulation and dispersion of pigment in coatings, and 2) targeting of tumors using bacteria as a homing beacon. As the coating industry transitions from solvent-borne to waterborne systems, components of coatings must be designed to function in aqueous environments. Such systems commonly utilize surfactant to functionalize nanoparticles. Surfactant in these systems typically have a Krafft Temperature at or below room temperature, meaning solubility is sufficiently high for formation of micelles. Consequently, surfactant molecules easily migrate between the surface of particles and the aqueous and micellar phases. Here, hydrophobic surfactant well below its Krafft Temperature is applied in waterborne coating systems. We have successfully functionalized polymer nanoparticles and subsequently encapsulated inorganic pigment. Resulting coating systems exhibit improved pigment dispersion and opacity which could improve coating properties and reduce environmental burden. The approach provides a simple and inexpensive method of functionalization which can be broadly applied in aqueous-based colloids. In 2018, 9.5 million people succumbed to cancer worldwide, and forecasts predict there will be 16.3 million cancer mortalities by 2040. Massive efforts have been directed towards improving cancer treatment. Cleverly, scientists have developed nanoparticle-drug platforms that bind to specific receptors found in tumors while avoiding healthy tissue. However, targeted therapies are limited by inconsistent tumor chemistries. Attempts to selectively localize particles in tumors has proved unsuccessful in clinical trials. In this work, a novel bacteria-nanoparticle modality was developed and implemented both in vitro and in vivo. Salmonella, which naturally colonize tumor tissue at levels 10,000-fold higher than healthy tissue, were intentionally administered to tumors. Colonization of tumors with Salmonella provides a distinct target within cancerous tissue. Nanoparticles were engineered to bind to unique bacterial chemistries therefore allowing for specific accumulation in tumors. The therapy could provide a universal treatment for a broad spectrum of cancer types and patients worldwide. FUNCTIONALIZATION AND APPLICATION OF NANOPARTICLE SYSTEMS IN COATINGS AND TARGETED CANCER THERAPY