Investigating the Impact of Flow Recirculation on Cellular Uptake of Nanoparticles

Open Access
Boland, Samuel Fares
Area of Honors:
Biomedical Engineering
Bachelor of Science
Document Type:
Thesis Supervisors:
  • Peter J Butler, Thesis Supervisor
  • Justin Lee Brown, Honors Advisor
  • nanoparticles
  • atherosclerosis
  • flow chamber
  • finite element analysis
  • drug delivery
  • fluid dynamics
  • cell mechanics
Atherosclerosis is a progressive cardiovascular disease that is the number one killer of people in the developed world. The pathology of atherosclerosis falls at the unique intersection of cellular mechanics, fluid mechanics, and mass transfer. The mechanical properties of cells in highly atherogenic regions of the vasculature are modified by the fluid dynamics, which in turn impacts mass transfer properties from the fluid to the cell. Ironically, the same mechanical and transport conditions that promote growth of atherosclerotic lesions may also provide an avenue for new treatment methods, chiefly the delivery of nanoparticles that might be loaded with drugs to treat atherosclerosis. In this thesis, this phenomenon is computationally and experimentally investigated. A novel flow chamber was manufactured to mirror the conditions of regions highly prone to atherosclerotic plaque. The cellular uptake of nanoparticles was quantified and compared to the uptake of nanoparticles by cells subject to conditions of aligned flow. Computational modeling of this phenomenon was used to drive the design of the flow chamber and support the hypothesis that flow recirculation has a profound impact on cellular uptake of nanoparticles.