In vitro and in vivo experiments in which cells are in contact with magnetic nanoparticles and subjected to high frequency oscillating magnetic fields have shown that the particles may induce cell death. Owing to the intrinsic biocompatibility of superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles, these observations have garnered considerable interest for the treatment of cancer, in which the nanoparticles could be directly injected into a cancer tumor or functionalized to selectively target cancer cells. The subsequent application of an oscillating magnetic field would result in destruction of the cancer, without many of the deleterious side effects common to radio- and chemotherapy. These observations have been termed Magnetic Fluid Hyperthermia (MFH) or Magnetocytolysis, depending on whether a macroscopic temperature rise is observed. With the objective of improving our fundamental understanding of this phenomenon, this research combines preparation of innovative magnetically and thermally active nanoparticles, experiments aimed at quantifying cell death and the physicochemical interaction between the nanoparticles and human cancer cells in vitro under controlled conditions, modeling and measurements of particle and energy transport in human cancer cells in vitro, and simulations of the interaction between polymers used to functionalize the particles and a model lipid bilayer. This project was begun with seed funds from the PR-NSF-EPSCoR Phase V program and is currently supported by an NSF Nanoscale Interdisciplinary Research Team award.