Research Interns

The Sustainable Nanotechnology Working Group (SNWG) received one of TFISE's working group mini-grants to support development of an internship program to introduce undergraduate and high school students to SNWG faculty research that is relevant to both sustainability and nanotechnology. The 2014 interns completed the program which culminated in a presentation at the annual retreat held May 22, 2015.  A synopsis of their projects is presented below.

Tammy Jamieson
Major: pre-Medical Laboratory Sciences, College of Health Sciences
Class rank/time of internship: Sophomore, Summer 2014
Mentors: Ricky Lewis, Jason Unrine, and Dave McNear
Collaborations: Environmental Chemistry and Toxicology & Rhizosphere Laboratories, Plant and Soil Science Dept (CAFE)

Title: Examining the Impact of Manufactured Nanomaterial Surface Charge on Respiration, Viability, and Macrocolony Formation of Bacillus subtilis
Project Desription: The objective of this work was to determine the role of nanoparticle surface charge in toxicity of Bacillus subtilis. We used ceria nanoparticles that were covered in particular coatings to impart various charges in order to study the surface chemistry of toxicity on the bacteria. The coatings used on the ceria nanoparticles were dextran for a neutral charge, carboxymethyl-dextran (CM-D) for a negative charge & diethylaminoethyl-dextran (DEAE-D) for a positive charge. We used viability & respiration assays as well as assessing macrocolony formation after exposures. Read more...

Stuart Lichtenberg
Major: Agricultural Biotechnology
Class rank/time of internship: Senior
Mentors:Olga Tsyusko and Daniel Starnes 
Collaborations: Environmental Chemistry and Toxicology & Rhizosphere Laboratories, Plant and Soil Science Dept (CAFE)

Title: Sulfidated Silver Nanoparticles Induce Toxicogenomic Effects Distinct from Pristine Silver Nanoparticles and Silver Ions
Project Description:The purpose of my project was to investigate the mechanisms of toxicity of pristine and sulfidized silver nanoparticles (Ag-NPs) on a terrestrial model organism, Caenorhabditis elegans using mutant strains and RNA interference.When released into the environment, pristine Ag-NP are altered from their pristine state, mostly into a sulfidized form.Previous whole-genome microarray-based screens performed by Daniel Starnes, with whom I work closely for this internship, have demonstrated that Ag ions, pristine and sulfidized Ag-NPs each have very distinct toxicogenomic profiles, and therefore likely distinct modes of action. The genes selected for this research were based on these microarray results.Mortality screens were performed on knockout mutants and RNAi knockdown strains of implicated genes in C. elegansRead more...


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