Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Science


Materials Science and Engineering


Materials Science and Engineering

First Advisor

Kaitlin Bratlie


Macrophages are a type of immune cell responsible for engulfing cellular debris, pathogens and cancer cells along with assisting the wound healing process. They have two extreme phenotypes: one that can be induced by lipopolysaccharide called classically activated M1 macrophages and another one that can be activated by interleukin-4 called alternatively activated M2 macrophages. Macrophages secrete different cytokines and chemokines, depending on their phenotype. M1 macrophages can help activate the immune response and destroy transformed cells while M2 macrophages will promote tumor cell growth. Tumor associated macrophages (TAMs) are thought to adopt an M2 phenotype and are associated with poor prognosis. Thus, TAMs as drug targets have the potential to improve cancer outcomes. Chemically modified poly (N-isopropylacrylamide) (pNIPAm) particles were used as the drug delivery vehicle in this study. These particles exhibit good biocompatibility and a phase transition temperature that enables drug loading at room temperature. Due to the lower critical solution temperature of pNIPAm, the polymer swells at temperatures below 32-34°C. Therefore, drugs loaded into pNIPAm particles at room temperature can be slowly released when in the body. In this study, 13 different modifiers were covalently attached to pNIPAm particles and their synergy in promoting internalization was studied. By studying the internalization ability of different surface functional groups, we can gain a further understanding for rational design of drug delivery systems.


Copyright Owner

Jie Jing



File Format


File Size

59 pages