In vitro and in vivo evaluation of silicon-based quantum dot nanoparticles
Silicon quantum dots (SiQDs) are semiconductor nanoparticles with sizes ranging from 1 to 10 nm that show great promise for photonics, microelectronics, and fluorescent bio-imaging considering their ability to fluoresce from blue to near infrared light. In comparison to conventional quantum dots (which can release toxic metals), Si quantum dots are expected to be safer and more stable for use in biomedical engineering applications.
This 24-months project aims at evaluating SiQDs for their toxicity both in vitro and in vivo. The study will focus first on a detailed in vitro study for assessing different parameters such as concentration, compositions, sizes and surface charges of the nanoparticles and their impact on cellular update and viability. Different cell lines, a range of assays and techniques will be used to assess the internalization of the nanoparticles, their distribution within the cells and their cellular toxicity. The mechanism of uptake of the nanoparticles within cells will also be studied. Following this evaluation, the quantum dots will be evaluated for the interactions with human blood and blood components. Subsequently, based on the outcome of in vitro studies, selected SiQDs will be further evaluated in vivo for the acute toxicity and biodistribution in a mice model.