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Sean Fitzgibbon

Cornell University
B.S. Chemical Engineering, 2008

Recently, there has been a great deal of interest in the use of intravenously injected nanoparticles for the treatment and diagnosis of cancer. Researchers have found that properly conjugated nanoparticles show a high degree of specificity towards tumors. In other words, several hours after injecting nanoparticles into the bloodstream, a majority of the particles will be found in the tumor instead of the rest of the body. In order for the nanoparticles to move into the tumor, they must first adsorb to the walls of the circulatory system, and the rate of this adsorption process is a complicated function of shear rate and surface chemistry. Currently, there is no firm theoretical understanding of how the distribution of bound nanoparticles is affected by this varying reaction rate.

My research has focused on the development of a generalized Taylor Dispersion theory which can account for a non-constant adsorption rate along with complicated geometries. In order to test the validity and limits of my theory, I have created several Brownian Dynamics simulations, comparing theoretical predictions with simulation results. In the future we hope to be able to directly compare this theory to experiments.

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