Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering

Degree Level



Chemical Engineering


Servoss, Shannon


While medicine has improved greatly in the last couple of decades, there are negative side effects that accompany many drugs. Undesirable side effects could be greatly reduced if non-systemic drug delivery systems were used because the medicine would harm diseased cells at a much higher rate than it does healthy cells. One possible non-systemic drug delivery system is peptoid nanospheres. These nanospheres will then be linked to another peptoid that is engineered to attach almost exclusively to diseased cells.

This research project is focused on designing peptoids that will form nanospheres in solution. Four specific peptoids were synthesized and tested based on previous research conducted in the Servoss lab. These peptoids were synthesized then purified using high pressure liquid chromatography. After purification was complete, circular dichroism was used to determine the relative helicity of the peptoids. The peptoids were then dried on silicon chips and scanning electron microscopy was used to test for nanosphere formation. Next, dynamic light scattering (DLS) was used to determine if the peptoids formed structures in a 4 to 1 methanol and water solution. The two peptoids that DLS indicated might be forming spheres in solution were tested using transmission electron microscopy (TEM).

Circular dichroism showed that all the peptoids were helicial while scanning electron microscopy showed that one of the four peptoids formed nanospheres. This indicates that helicity is not the main factor in nanospheres formation. DLS paired with TEM indicated that one of the peptoids formed nanospheres in the 500 – 600 nm size range.