IFN Summer Internship 2016

09 May 2016
IFN Summer Internship 2016

Dear IFN Researchers: The Institute for Functional Nanomaterials (IFN) is accepting applications for Summer Doctoral Internships and Summer Undergraduate Internships exclusively in the area of Nanotechnology. Below is the information...

IFN Fellowship August 2015-July 2016

15 June 2015
IFN Fellowship August 2015-July 2016

2015-2016 Academic IFN Fellowship (Period August 2015-July 2016) Stipend: $27,600 annual ($2,300 monthly)Tuition: $2,500 annualTravel: $2,400 annual (students to present their research)Materials: $2,500 annual Application Requirements: Have a minimum 3.0...

2015 IFN Summer Internships

30 April 2015

2015 Graduate IFN Summer Internships (Period June 1 – July 31) Stipend: $2,300 monthly Application Requirements: Evidence of Ph.D. candidacy Have a minimum 3.0 GPA on 4.0 scale Evidence of...

The First IFN Elevator Pitch Competition

07 April 2015
The First IFN Elevator Pitch Competition

Submit Your Video For the 1st IFN Elevator Pitch Competition. Present your research and yourself in a clear and concise manner Competition for students and postdocs Speech time: 2 minutes...

IFN Science-Art Contest

07 April 2015
IFN Science-Art Contest

“Art and science are two fields that value life, finding the unknown and experimental action. Undoubtedly the reflective look of the artists to the immediate reality has been tied to...

IFN Fellowship January-December 2015

20 November 2014
IFN Fellowship January-December 2015

2015 Academic IFN Fellowship (Period January-December 2015) Stipend $2,300 monthly Application Requirements: Have a minimum 3.0 GPA on 4.0 scale Evidence of Ph.D. candidacy Evidence of satisfactory academic progress according...

IFN Fellowship Summer 2014

30 April 2014
IFN Fellowship Summer 2014

2014 Graduate IFN Summer Internships (Period June 2 – July 31) Stipend $2,300 monthly Application Requirements: Have a minimum 3.0 GPA on 4.0 scale Evidence of Ph.D. candidacy Evidence of...

2nd Puerto Rico NSF/RII EPSCoR/IFN Annual Meeting

16 April 2009

The 2nd Annual Meeting for EPSCoR/ IFN will be held Thursday, April 16, 2009 at the Mayaguez Resort and Casino Hotel. This agenda is in PDF format. In order to...

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IRG 1 Intellectual Focus:

This interdisciplinary research group brings together a broad range of expertise in nanomaterials synthesis, modification, and characterization to address the challenges of developing applications of nanotechnology in biosensing, bioimaging, and treatment of challenging diseases such as cancer. Common scientific and technical challenges as well as a common application focus on cancer will drive interations and collaborations between participants.

 Nanoparticles as Tools

IFN Faculty Participants:

F. Aliev1, D. Banerjee2, V. Bansal3, F. Carrero4, Z. Chen1, U. Cordova4, E. Fasoli5, C. Gonzalez1, K. Griebenow1, M. Guinel1, M. Latorre4, O. Perales-Perez4, R. Raptis1, J.M. Rivera1, F. Roman4, E. Rosa-Molinar1, M. Torres-Lugo4
(University of Puerto Rico, Cayey3, Humacao5, Mayagüez4, Medical Sciences2, and Rio Piedras1)


IFN Strategic Partner Collaborators:

V. Rotello, University of Massachusetts, Amherst; G. Lopez-Berestein, J. Klostergaard, C. Li, A.K. Sood, MD Anderson Cancer Center; S. Sridhar, Northeastern University; J.O. Trent, James Graham Brown Cancer Center); R. Dluhy, (University of Georgia), Athens; Z. Arslan (Jackson State University, Jackson); Edmond Magner (Univeristy of Limerick, Ireland); C. Rinaldi, University of Florida, Gainesville.


Year 3 IRG Planning and Implementation Activities:

During the fall 2012, Torres-Lugo took the leadership of the IRG1.  For that purpose several individual meetings with IRG1 members were conducted.  These included discussion regarding future plans as a group and evolution of the IRG on the upcoming renewal.  A mentoring meeting with start up recipients was also conducted.


Test bed facilities were remodeled and purchased instrumentation was installed (see progress report on test bed facility).  The facility is mostly operational.  A clean room facility to isolate the cell culture area is still pending purchasing and installation due to suspension.  Work related to in vitro testing using mammalian cell cultures is limited to the current available area.


Year 1 Research Accomplishments for the IRG:

Bansal and Fasoli collaborated insynthesis of epoxy functionalized magnetic nanoparticles and their subsequent chemical modification to develop affinity nanosorbents for isolation of serine proteases.  Córdova constructed a Brownian dynamics simulation in order to study colloidal stability of particles synthetized by the group. Griebenow and his research group developed a smart delivery system for proteins from mesoporous silica nanoparticles. These systems deliver proteins from redox-sensitive bonds to the cytoplasm of target cells. We recently succeeded delivering Cyt c to target cells and induce apoptosis in HeLa cancer cells. We further demonstrated that our glycosylated Cyt c neoconjugates were more efficient in inducing apoptosis. Based on these exciting results we are currently developing an RO1 application. Griebenow and Cabrera developed several nanostructured enzyme-based sensors. Several constructs were improved by chemically modifying the enzymes with poly(ethylene glycol) or lactose. This resulted in prolonged lifetime of the sensors. Latorre-Esteves and Rinaldi assessed the effects of nanoparticle surface properties on nanoparticle/cell interactions. Raptis and Klostergaard imaged in vivo for the first time a human breast cancer xenograft on a nude mouse using an iron-based MRI contrast agent developed in the UPR laboratory.  Latorre-Esteves developed and studied stability and toxicity of polymeric nanocarriers designed to release therapeutic enzymes in diseased lysosomes. Latorre-Esteves and Torres-Lugo, examined effect of nanoparticle surface charge on nanoparticle plasma half-life in vivo. Torres-Lugo, Guinel, and Orange collaborated in the imaging of the cellular trafficking of magnetic nanoparticles in vivo and in vitroTorres-Lugo and Raptis performed a preliminary assessment of the stability of iron oxide contrast agents to determine in vitro cytotoxicity. Torres-Lugo and Rinaldi continued the investigation of the mechanisms underlying potentiation of chemotherapeutic agents using magnetic nanoparticles and alternating magnetic fields. Torres-Lugo investigated the effect of nanoparticle’s surface properties on in vivo biodistribution in subcutaneous and orthotopic ovarian and breast cancer models.  Recent studies included the determination of long-term in vivo toxicity of iron oxide nanoparticles as well as magnetic fluid hyperthermia experiments in vivo. These experiments were performed in collaboration with MDACC and the PRCCC. Results were very promising and are currently preparing a collaborative R01. Perales and Roman’s group have synthesized Zn-based (capped with thioglycolic acid or 3-mercaptopropionic acid) and Cd-based quantum dots (capped with thioglycolic acid or L-glutathione), and used to investigate their cytotoxicity to human pancreatic carcinoma cells (PANC-1) in absence and presence of UV-irradiation. Bailon and Perales have developed a microwave-assisted synthesis of water-soluble and photo-stable Cu-doped Zn-based QDs directly in aqueous phase with the support of 3-mercaptopropionic acid (MPA). The toxicity of light-activated QDs was evaluated in cancer cells (i.e. Human Pancreatic carcinoma cells or PANC-1) and enhanced toxicity was observed. As-synthesized Cu-doped Zn-based QDs can be considered potential candidates for nanobio-applications. Perales and Collantes produced size-controlled pure and (Fe3+ and Fe2+)-doped ZnO nanoparticles (NPs) in a polyol medium. XRD measurements confirmed the formation of well-crystallized wurtzite ZnO with absence of secondary phases in bare and doped samples.

Year 3 Collaborations with IFN Partners:

Torres-Lugo has collaborated with Rinaldi, Li, Lopez-Berenstein, and Sood to assess in vivo biodistribution and efficacy of magnetic nanoparticles developed by Rinaldi that resist aggregation in biological media. The student Karem Court (an IFN supported stuent) will be spending the 2013 summer at MDACC performing formal experiments.


Year 4 Work Plan for the IRG:

A working plan is pending the termination of the suspended status.