Date of Award


Document type


Access Type

Open Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Program


First Advisor

Vincent M. Rotello

Second Advisor

Craig T. Martin

Third Advisor

Michael J. Knapp

Subject Categories

Organic Chemistry


Functionalized gold nanoparticles (AuNPs) provide an excellent scaffold for numerous biological applications. In these systems, the gold core imparts stability to the assembly, while the monolayer allows tuning of surface characteristics such as charge and hydrophobicity. The nano-scale size and tunable surface properties have made them an ideal candidate for manipulating protein-protein/protein-nucleic acid interactions, and delivery of therapeutics. In this thesis work, it has been demonstrated how the surface coating plays an important role in achieving a desired goal. Using organic synthesis as a tool, the monolayer was tailored to afford useful particles with biocompatibility and the ability to respond in the cellular environment. The recognition units present on the periphery of particles dictates/controls their interactions with biomolecular or cell surfaces. As described here, these engineered particles exhibited a number of bio-applications, including folding of a peptide into an α-helix, binding with DNA, and cellular delivery of genes and proteins.