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Title page for ETD etd-11162018-115836

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Kitko, Kristina Elizabeth
Author's Email Address kristina.e.kitko@vanderbilt.edu
URN etd-11162018-115836
Title Nanomaterial-based approaches to the study of membrane signaling
Degree PhD
Department Interdisciplinary Materials Science
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Qi Zhang Committee Chair
D. Greg Walker Committee Member
Erin S. Calipari Committee Member
Sandra J. Rosenthal Committee Member
Yaxiong Xu Committee Member
  • quantum dots
  • synapses
  • synaptic transmission
  • biocompatibility
  • Nanomaterials
  • neuroscience
  • graphene
Date of Defense 2018-10-08
Availability unrestricted
The plasma membrane is a complex, dynamic, and multifunctional microenvironment whose components mediate much of cellular communication. The size, unique properties, and ability to target and tailor nanoscale materials has generated great interest in their biological application. In this thesis, I will outline two nanoscale material-based approaches I have developed for the manipulation and study of plasma membrane related signaling. Although structural changes have been actively studied both in vitro and in vivo for many novel biosensor platforms, characterization studies defining the functional effects of recording materials remain more scarce. In this vein, in the first part of this thesis, I used an array of electrical and optical approaches to gain mechanistic insight into the biological effects of chronic growth of neurons on graphene substrates. These findings then led us to investigate the feasibility of using graphene to acutely modulate cell signaling pathways, which my work demonstrates for both membrane signal output (e.g. neurotransmitter release) and membrane signal input (e.g. receptor activation). Lastly, work in this thesis introduces an RNA aptamer-based approach for monovalent quantum dot

hybridization and demonstrates its utility for single particle tracking of synaptic vesicles.

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