Application of Dynamic Light Scattering in the Physicochemical Characterization of Natural and Engineered Nanoparticles

By Trisha Eustaquio

Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN

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Measuring the size and size distributions of nanoparticles, whether engineered or naturally occurring, is critical in understanding their behavior in a biological system. The size of nanoparticles engineered for dual therapy and diagnosis (“theranosis”) applications is important in predicting their biodistribution in targeted and non-targeted cells and tissues. The size of biological nanoparticles may aid in elucidating the mechanisms of key molecular pathways in complex diseases. This presentation will highlight the use of dynamic light scattering (DLS), which measures the hydrodynamic size of nanoparticles in suspension, in characterizing specific examples of engineered and natural nanoparticles. In terms of engineered nanoparticles, the role of nanoparticle size in developing a novel method for nanoparticle detection for biodistribution studies, “nanobarcoding,” will be presented. In terms of natural nanoparticles, the role of chylomicron size in investigating the effects of obesity on triglyceride metabolism will be shown.


Research Interests – My research expertise is chiefly focused on high-throughput assay development for the characterization of engineered nanomedical systems. Due to the extensive number of combinations possible on an engineered nanomedical system, a given nanoparticle formulation will possess distinct physicochemical properties, which influence the nanoparticle’s behavior in a biological system and can be difficult to predict from the literature. During my doctoral research, I have developed a method for the rapid detection of single nanoparticles over large areas of a cell monolayer or histological tissue section that exploits the extreme sensitivity and cell localization capability of in situ PCR. This method, coined “nanobarcoding,” has the potential to accurately determine nanoparticle biodistribution, and such results can lead to a better understanding of nanoparticle-cell interactions, guide the design of improved theranostic nanoparticle systems, and direct future investigative paths in nanomedicine. In addition, I have created single-cell nanotoxicity assays using scanning image and flow cytometers that can be coupled with nanobarcoding. With Nanovis and Dow AgroSciences, I have established in-house protocols for the characterization of proprietary nanosurfaces and nanostructures. In addition to nanomedical assay development, I am interested in the design and application of multifunctional programmable nanoparticles, especially in the realms of cancer theragnosis and regenerative medicine. I hope to utilize my growing expertise in nanomedicine in the public sector, especially in regards to regulatory processes that impact the use of nanotechnology in a wide range of products and its influence on public health and the environment.

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Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  • Trisha Eustaquio (2012), "Application of Dynamic Light Scattering in the Physicochemical Characterization of Natural and Engineered Nanoparticles,"

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Burton Morgan 121, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN