Date of Award

December 2019

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering

Committee Member

Marc R Birtwistle

Committee Member

Alex Feltus

Committee Member

Mark Blenner


Glioblastoma (GBM) remains a highly lethal brain tumor that continues have overall low survival rate, with only 5% of patients to five or more years. This thesis proposes a drug- and polymersome-loaded thermosensitive hydrogel as a therapeutic platform to target and eliminate post-surgical GBM tumor cells. The experiments presented lay some foundational work in establishing the feasibility of and optimizing such a platform. Polyethene glycol (PEG)-Polyester pH-responsive polymersomes were synthesized, optimized and conjugated with peptide ligands to increase cellular uptake in vitro. A Python workflow was designed, using RNAseq data from the Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) and the Genotype-Tissue Expression project (GTEx) with online proteomic and binding databases, to find GBM cellular surface targets and the ligands that bind them. A biomimetic hydrogel, enhanced by chemotaxis signaling molecules, was synthesized as an alternative tumor eliminating modality. The continuation of this work, merging modern nanomedicine synthesis techniques and disease-specific data analysis promises to have positive implications for GBM patient prognosis.



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