Honors Theses

Date of Award

Spring 4-25-2022

Document Type

Undergraduate Thesis


Chemistry and Biochemistry

First Advisor

Eden Tanner

Second Advisor

Gerald Rowland

Third Advisor

Susan Pedigo

Relational Format



Platelets are key players in our body’s inflammatory processes upon activation, which can create physiological problems. Researchers are actively seeking solutions by targeting platelets with therapeutics. The objective of the research in this thesis was to investigate a new and potentially less invasive drug delivery platform using nanoparticles. The topic of the project was to explore the world of ionic liquids and their abilities, when coated on nanoparticles, to bind to platelets. A library of choline carboxylic acid-based ionic liquids (ILs) was first synthesized via salt metathesis while PLGA-based nanoparticles were simultaneously being synthesized via the nanoprecipitation method. The ionic liquid coated nanoparticles were then mixed with whole mouse blood. PBS and bare PLGA nanoparticles were utilized as controls within the experiment. Platelets were isolated from the whole blood and qualitatively analyzed using FACS to identify the top IL candidate for binding to platelets. Choline 2-Nonenoic Acid 1:2 was identified as the winner, and further tests such as confocal imaging and toxicity studies were conducted to visualize the binding and assess the viability of using Choline 2-Nonenoic Acid 1:2 coated nanoparticles. The toxicity studies reveal that the percentage of platelet activation upon binding to Choline 2-Nonenoic Acid 1:2 coated nanoparticles is lower than when bound to either non-coated PLGA nanoparticles or phosphate-buffered saline. The findings from this project provide a basis for further research for enhancing nanoparticle targeting to platelets.

Available for download on Friday, June 21, 2024