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Creators/Authors contains: "Watkins, Davita L."

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  1. In this work, we have taken a donor–acceptor–donor (D–A–D) fluorophore ( II-EDOT-TPA ) and encapsulated it using a linear dendritic block copolymer (LDBC). In parallel, a polyethylene glycol derivative ( PEG-II-EDOT-TPA ) was synthesized. The self-assembly and colloidal properties of both nanoaggregates were comparatively assessed. Photophysical and morphological characterization of the LDBC encapsulated II-EDOT-TPA and PEG-II-EDOT-TPA nanoaggregates was performed, which showed the photophysical and morphological properties differed greatly when comparing the two. Both nanoaggregate types were incubated with HEK-293 cells in order to measure cell viability and perform confocal fluorescence microscopy. Minimal cytotoxicity values (<20%) were seen with the two nanoaggregate forms, while both types of nanoaggregates were found to accumulate into the lysosomes of the HEK-293 cells. This work provides fascinating insights into NIR fluorophore design and methods to effectively alter the photophysical and morphological properties of the nanoaggregates for bio-imaging purposes. 
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  2. A longstanding challenge in the field of optoelectronic materials, the effects of solid-state arrangement and morphology are still a prominent factor associated with small-molecule and polymer-based device performance. Here, mixed heterocyclic aromatic oligomers containing thiophene, furan and pyrazine are prepared alongside their methylated congeners. Their solution and solid-phase properties were studied via spectroscopic, electrochemical and single-crystal X-ray diffraction (XRD) analysis. Comparative analysis between solid-state packing arrangements and photophysical properties revealed optical band gaps as low as 1.7 eV with Stokes-shifts up to 130 nm and quantum yields of 12%. Results of the study aid in further understanding the effects of molecular and solid-state arrangements that give rise to unique optical and photophysical properties critical to enhancing optoelectronic behavior. 
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  3. Linear-dendritic block copolymers (LDBCs) have emerged as promising materials for drug delivery applications, with their hybrid structure exploiting advantageous properties of both linear and dendritic polymers. LDBCs have promising encapsulation efficiencies that can be used to encapsulate both hydrophobic and hydrophilic dyes for bioimaging, cancer therapeutics, and small biomolecules. Additionally, LDBCS can be readily functionalized with varying terminal groups for more efficient targeted delivery. However, depending on structural composition and surface properties, LDBCs also exhibit high dispersities ( Đ ), poor shelf-life, and potentially high cytotoxicity to non-target interfacing blood cells during intravenous drug delivery. Here, we show that choline carboxylic acid-based ionic liquids (ILs) electrostatically solvate LDBCs by direct dissolution and form stable and biocompatible IL-integrated LDBC nano-assemblies. These nano-assemblies are endowed with red blood cell-hitchhiking capabilities and show altered cellular uptake behavior ex vivo . When modified with choline and trans -2-hexenoic acid, IL-LDBC dispersity dropped by half compared to bare LDBCs, and showed a significant shift of the cationic surface charge towards neutrality. Proton nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy evidenced twice the total amount of IL on the LDBCs relative to an established IL-linear PLGA platform. Transmission electron microscopy suggested the formation of a nanoparticle surface coating, which acted as a protective agent against RBC hemolysis, reducing hemolysis from 73% (LDBC) to 25% (IL-LDBC). However, dramatically different uptake behavior of IL-LDBCs vs. IL-PLGA NPs in RAW 264.7 macrophage cells suggests a different conformational IL-NP surface assembly on the linear versus the linear-dendritic nanoparticles. These results suggest that by controlling the physical chemistry of polymer-IL interactions and assembly on the nanoscale, biological function can be tailored toward the development of more effective and more precisely targeted therapies. 
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  4. Abstract

    Ionic liquids (ILs) have emerged as promising biomaterials for enhancing drug delivery by functionalizing polymeric nanoparticles (NPs). Despite the biocompatibility and biofunctionalization they confer upon the NPs, little is understood regarding the degree in which non‐covalent interactions, particularly hydrogen bonding and electrostatic interactions, govern IL‐NP supramolecular assembly. Herein, we use salt (0‐1 M sodium sulfate) and acid (0.25 M hydrochloric acid at pH 4.8) titrations to disrupt IL‐functionalized nanoassembly for four different polymeric platforms during synthesis. Through quantitative1H‐nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy and dynamic light scattering, we demonstrate that the driving force of choline trans‐2‐hexenoate (CA2HA 1:1) IL assembly varies with either hydrogen bonding or electrostatics dominating, depending on the structure of the polymeric platform. In particular, the covalently bound or branched 50:50 block co‐polymer systems (diblock PEG‐PLGA [DPP] and polycaprolactone [PCl]‐poly[amidoamine] amine‐based linear‐dendritic block co‐polymer) are predominantly affected by hydrogen bonding disruption. In contrast, a purely linear block co‐polymer system (carboxylic acid terminated poly[lactic‐co‐glycolic acid]) necessitates both electrostatics and hydrogen bonding to assemble with IL and a two‐component electrostatically bound system (electrostatic PEG‐PLGA [EPP]) favors hydrogen‐bonding with electrostatics serving as a secondary role.

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  5. null (Ed.)
    The challenges faced with current fluorescence imaging agents have motivated us to study two nanostructures based on a hydrophobic dye, 6 H -pyrrolo[3,2- b :4,5- b ’]bis [1,4]benzothiazine (TRPZ). TRPZ is a heteroacene with a rigid, pi-conjugated structure, multiple reactive sites, and unique spectroscopic properties. Here we coupled TRPZ to a tert-butyl carbamate (BOC) protected 2,2-bis(hydroxymethyl)propanoic acid (bisMPA) dendron via azide-alkyne Huisgen cycloaddition. Deprotection of the protected amine groups on the dendron afforded a cationic terminated amphiphile, TRPZ-bisMPA . TRPZ-bisMPA was nanoprecipitated into water to obtain nanoparticles (NPs) with a hydrodynamic radius that was <150 nm. For comparison, TRPZ-PG was encapsulated in pluronic-F127 (Mw = 12 kD), a polymer surfactant to afford NPs almost twice as large as those formed by TRPZ-bisMPA . Size and stability studies confirm the suitability of the TRPZ-bisMPA NPs for biomedical applications. The photophysical properties of the TRPZ-bisMPA NPs show a quantum yield of 49%, a Stokes shift of 201 nm (0.72 eV) and a lifetime of 6.3 ns in water. Further evidence was provided by cell viability and cellular uptake studies confirming the low cytotoxicity of TRPZ-bisMPA NPs and their potential in bioimaging. 
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  6. Shortwave infrared (SWIR) emission has great potential for deep-tissue in vivo biological imaging with high resolution. In this article, the synthesis and characterization of two new xanthene-based RosIndolizine dyes coded Ph RosIndz and tol RosIndz is presented. The dyes are characterized via femtosecond transient absorption spectroscopy as well as steady-state absorption and emission spectroscopies. The emission of these dyes is shown in the SWIR region with peak emission at 1097 nm. Tol RosIndz was encapsulated with an amphiphilic linear dendritic block co-polymer (LDBC) coded 10-PhPCL-G3 with high uptake yield. Further, cellular toxicity was examined in vitro using HEK (human embryonic kidney) cells where a >90% cell viability was observed at practical concentrations of the encapsulated dye which indicates low toxicity and reasonable biocompatibility. 
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