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RUI: Functional characterization of gold responsive genes and development of plant based system for efficient synthesis of gold nano-particles

Shivendra Sahi
University of the Sciences Philadelphia
Start date
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Nanotechnology is a fast emerging area that is attracting immense research interest. Gold nanoparticles, which are the focus of this project, have properties that are very different than bulk metal and have applications in a variety of areas, including medicine, heavy industry, and information and communication technologies. The aim of this project is to understand the mechanism of gold uptake and gold nanoparticle production in plants. Once the molecular mechanism of gold nanoparticle biosynthesis is deciphered, a plant-based system can be easily manipulated for efficient production of these nanoparticles for downstream applications. In contrast to conventional methods, which generate tons of hazardous materials, this eco-friendly method of gold nanoparticle production will generate minimal wastes, and thus have a minimal impact on the environment. Many undergraduate student researchers will be active participants on this project and will gain hands-on experience of this cutting-edge nano-biotechnology.

The goal of this project is to gain a comprehensive understanding of the mechanism of gold uptake and assimilation in plants by identifying the genes involved in gold nanoparticle biosynthesis. A combination of molecular, biochemical and physiological approaches will be used for this project. The long-term goal of this project is to develop transgenic approaches to further enhance the biosynthesis of gold nanoparticle of different shapes and sizes for potential downstream applications. This project will also extend an international research collaboration with scientists from the Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI) in New Delhi, India. This research project will: (i) train and mentor at least 15 undergraduate students for independent research and critical thinking skills, and (ii) provide opportunities for oral and written communication of research findings through presentations, and peer-reviewed publications. Through close mentoring and careful monitoring of progress, we will motivate and prepare students to pursue graduate degrees and to build careers in STEM discipline. Students will also have opportunity to visit IARI laboratories, where they will have an opportunity to perform research, interact and collaborate with foreign students, post-docs and scientists. Finally, it is anticipated that the study will take the field of nanogold technology a step closer to commercial realism.
Funding Source
United States Nat'l. Science Fndn.
Project source
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Project number
Education and Training