SURF

Khashayar Nattagh

Mechanisms of Cellular Damage with Gold Nanoparticle Stimulated Radiation Therapy at MeV Energies

The goal of radiation cancer therapy is to deliver a lethal dose of radiation to a tumor while sparing the healthy tissue along the beam path. My project studies the phenomenon of gold nanoparticle radiosensitization: where gold nanoparticles are used to increase the damage that a certain dose of radiation has to a tumor without increasing the damage to the healthy cells. Specifically, I am trying to determine why gold nanoparticles increase the effects of radiation, a question that scientists are debating today. I am investigating this by using cutting edge techniques to count the number of double strand breaks in the cells chromosomes. If, for example, an increase in double strand breaks is observed, this can lead scientists in the field to focus future research on double strand break effects in cancer cells.

Message to Sponsor

Research has been the highlight of my undergraduate career and thus I am very honored to have an opportunity to investigate my own thesis this summer. It will challenge me by taking my out of my undergraduate comfort zone and into the arena of independent scientific investigation. In addition, with the time and resources provided by the SURF program, I can complete more robust experiments that can potentially advance the field of gold nanoparticle radiosensitization.
  • Major: Physics
  • Sponsor: Rose Hills Foundation
  • Mentor: Jasmina Vujic, Nuclear Engineering