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  1. Abstract

    Breast cancer is a major cause of cancer-associated deaths in the United States. It was estimated that 12% of women in the U.S. will develop invasive breast cancer in their lifetime. The human epidermal growth factor receptor (HER2/neu) is a growth-promoting protein that is overexpressed in 15–20% of breast cancers (HER2-positive breast cancer). HER2-positive breast cancer generally grows and spreads more quickly than other breast cancers, but it can be targeted therapeutically. Targeting drugs have been developed with a specific design to stop the growth and even the spread of cancer. These drugs include trastuzumab (Herceptin), pertuzumab (Perjeta), ado-trastuzumab emtansine (Kadcyla, or TDM-1), fam-trastuzumab deruxtecan, lapatinib, neratinib and tucatinib. However, the need for better targeted therapy and efficacy still exists. Nanotechnology could have major advantages in terms of detection, targeting, drug delivery, and destruction of cancer cells and tumors. Although a great deal of progress has been accomplished major challenges still need to be addressed. In this review, we examine the major areas of research in the area of nanotechnology and HER2-positive breast cancer.

     
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  2. Abstract

    Pancreatic cancer is one of the most complex types of cancers to detect, diagnose, and treat. However, the field of nanomedicine has strong potential to address such challenges. When evaluating the diffusion and penetration of theranostic nanoparticles, the extracellular matrix (ECM) is of crucial importance because it acts as a barrier to the tumor microenvironment. In the present study, the penetration of functionalized, fluorescent gold nanorods into large (>500 μm) multicellular 3D tissue spheroids was studied using a multimodal imaging approach. The spheroids were generated by co-culturing pancreatic cancer cells and pancreatic stellate cells in multiple ratios to mimic variable tumor-stromal compositions and to investigate nanoparticle penetration. Fluorescence live imaging, photothermal, and photoacoustic analysis were utilized to examine nanoparticle behavior in the spheroids. Uniquely, the nanorods are intrinsically photoacoustic and photothermal, enabling multi-imaging detection even when fluorescence tracking is not possible or ideal.

     
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  3. Abstract

    Methods for the efficient and affordable remediation of oil spills and chemical leaks are crucially needed in today’s environment. In this study, we have developed a simple, magnetic, porous material based on polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) and steel wool (SW) that can fulfill these needs. The PDMS-SW presented here is superhydrophobic, superoleophilic, and capable of absorbing and separating oils and organic solvents from water. The material is mechanically and chemically stable, even in salty environments, and can be magnetically guided. It exhibits good selectivity, recyclability, and sorption capacity, and can quickly and continuously absorb and remove large amounts of oils and organic solutions from stationary and turbulent water. In addition, PDMS-SW’s inherently high porosity enables direct, gravity-driven oil-water separation with permeate flux as high as ~32,000 L/m2·h and separation efficiency over 99%. The solution immersion process used to prepare the material is easily scalable and requires only a single step. Thus, with its demonstrated combination of affordability, efficiency, and ease of use, PDMS-SW has the potential to meet the demands of large-area oil and chemical clean-ups.

     
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  4. In vivophotoacoustic (PA) flow cytometry (PAFC) has great clinical potential for early, noninvasive diagnosis of cancer, infections (e.g., malaria and bacteremia), sickle anemia, and cardiovascular disorders, including stroke prevention through detection of circulating white clots with negative PA contrast. For clinical applications, this diagnostic platform still requires optimization and calibration. We have already demonstrated that this need can be partially addressed byin vivoexamination of large mouse blood vessels, which are similar to human vessels used. Here, we present an alternative method for PAFC optimization that utilizes novel, clinically relevant phantoms resembling pigmented skin, tissue, vessels, and flowing blood. This phantom consists of a scattering-absorbing medium with a melanin layer and plastic tube with flowing beads to model light-absorbing red blood cells (RBCs) and circulating tumor cells (CTCs), as well as transparent beads to model white blood cells and clots. Using a laser diode, we demonstrated the extraordinary ability of PAFC to dynamically detect fast-moving mimic CTCs with positive PA contrast and white clots with negative PA contrast in an RBC background. Time-resolved detection of the delayed PA signals from blood vessels demonstrated complete suppression of the PA background from the modeled pigmented skin. This novel, medically relevant, dynamic blood flow phantom can be used to calibrate and maintain PAFC parameters for routine clinical applications.

     
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  5. Abstract

    Supercapacitors are beneficial as energy storage devices and can obtain high capacitance values greater than conventional capacitors and high power densities compared to batteries. However, in order to improve upon the overall cost, energy density, and charge-discharge rates, the electrode material of supercapacitors needs to be fine-tuned with an inexpensive, high conducting source. We prepared a Co(III) complex and polypyrrole (PPy) composite thin films (CoN4-PPy) that was electrochemically deposited on the surface of a glassy carbon working electrode. Cyclic voltammetry studies indicate the superior performance of CoN4-PPy in charge storage in acidic electrolyte compared to alkaline and organic solutions. The CoN4-PPy material generated the highest amount of specific capacitance (up to 721.9 F/g) followed by Co salt and PPy (Co-PPy) material and PPy alone. Cyclic performance studies showed the excellent electrochemical stability of the CoN4-PPy film in the acidic medium. Simply electrochemically depositing an inexpensive Co(III) complex with a high electrically conducting polymer of PPy delivered a superior electrode material for supercapacitor applications. Therefore, the results indicate that novel thin films derived from Co(III) metal complex and PPy can store a large amount of energy and maintain high stability over many cycles, revealing its excellent potential in supercapacitor devices.

     
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  6. Abstract

    The use of synthetic materials for biomedical applications is ever expanding. One of the major requirements for these materials is biocompatibility, which includes prevention of immune system responses. Due to the inherent complexity of their structural composition, the polyurethane (PU) family of polymers is being used in a variety of medical applications, from soft and hard tissue scaffolds to intricate coatings on implantable devices. Herein, we investigated whether two polymer materials, D3 and D7, induced an immune response, measured by their effects on a dendritic cell (DC) line, JAWS II. Using a lactate dehydrogenase cytotoxicity assay and Annexin V/PI staining, we found that the PU materials did not induce cytotoxicity in DC cells. Using confocal microscopy, we also showed that the materials did not induce activation or maturation, as compared to positive controls. This was confirmed by looking at various markers, CD80, CD86, MHC class I, and MHC class II, via flow cytometry. Overall, the results indicated that the investigated PU films are biocompatible in terms of immunotoxicology and immunogenicity and show great promise for use in regenerative medicine.

     
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  7. Abstract

    As the need for green energy increases, particularly solar energy, perovskite‐based devices have become a promising alternative to more complex, costly semiconductor‐based photovoltaic devices. The major advantage of perovskite‐based devices is their relatively facile fabrication as a thin film at fairly low temperatures and their tunable optoelectronic properties. The chemical composition of perovskite structures, solvent and heat treatments used in processing, additives, and deposition methods produce films with different morphologies. Their ability to be used with other organic and inorganic subcells makes them a useful component for an efficient, cost‐effective approach to harvest solar energy. This review presents some of the latest approaches and considerations for the fabrication, architecture, and performance of perovskite‐based solar cells. Various perovskite device architectures are discussed, as well as the effects of environmental conditions on performance and degradation.

     
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