Date of Graduation

5-2016

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Cell & Molecular Biology (MS)

Degree Level

Graduate

Department

Biological Sciences

Advisor

Ravi D. Barabote

Committee Member

Douglas D. Rhoads

Second Committee Member

Ralph L. Henry

Third Committee Member

Young Min Kwon

Keywords

Biological sciences; Applied sciences; Functionalization; Genotoxicity: Graphene

Abstract

Rapid advances in nanotechnology necessitate assessment of the safety of nanomaterials in the resulting products and applications. One key nanomaterial attracting much interest in many areas of science and technology is graphene. Graphene is a one atom thick carbon allotrope arranged in a two-dimensional honeycomb lattice. In addition to being extremely thin, graphene has several extraordinary physical properties such as its exceptional mechanical strength, thermal stability, and high electrical conductivity. Graphene itself is relatively chemically inert and therefore pristine graphene must undergo a process called functionalization, which is combination of chemical and physical treatments that change the properties of graphene, to make it chemically active. Functionalization of graphene is of crucial importance as the end application of graphene depends on proper functionalization. In the field of medicine, graphene is currently a nanomaterial of high interest for building biosensors, DNA transistors, and probes for cancer detection. Despite the promising applications of graphene in several areas of biomedicine, there have been only few studies in recent years that focus on evaluating cytotoxicity of graphene on cells, and almost no studies that investigate how graphene exposure affects cellular genetic material. Therefore, in this study we used a novel approach to evaluate the genotoxicity, i.e., the effects of graphene on DNA, using Escherichia coli as a prokaryotic model organism.

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