Accepted Posters List

In by admin

NameWesley Cunningham
Organization or InstitutionUniversity of Miami
TopicMaterials Chemisry

Intracellular-targeted nanomaterials synthesized from the renewable biopolymer lignin


Wesley R. Cunningham, Alvin S. Soto, James N. Wilson

Author Institution(s)

University of Miami


Lignin is the most abundant naturally occurring renewable source of aromatic structures on Earth, and one of three main polymers in plant based, usually woody biomass.1,2  Lignin is continually being investigated to discover new uses, attractive by its aromatic structure, abundance in nature, and its great potential for chemical modification.  Previously explored in our group were methods to create a series of functionalized lignin derivatives capable of encapsulating organic dyes.3  Expanding on this work, we have synthesized lignin derivatives capable of both encapsulating lipophilic dyes to enhance optical properties and theoretically, targeting mitochondria in live cell culture, by utilizing the triphenylphosphonium cation (TPP).  These novel nanoparticles have been confirmed by 1H-NMR and IR, with further characterization by DLS and SEM to come.  Targeting effects would then be monitored by confocal fluorescence microscopy.  As an attractive and underutilized target for delivery approaches, exploration of mitochondria with targeted fluorescent probes could provide access to a greater well of information about functions and disorders related to this organelle.4,5,6



Duval, A.; Martin, L. A review on lignin-based polymeric, micro- and nano-structured materials. Funct. Polym. 2014, 85, 78-96.Wei, M.; Haoxi, B., Ragauskas, A.; Yulin, D. Lignin Pyrolysis Components and Upgrading—Technology Review. Res. 2013, 6, 1183-1204.Cauley, A.N.; Wilson, J.N. Functionalized lignin biomaterials for enhancing optical properties and cellular interactions of dyes. Sci. 2017, 5, 2114–2121.Smith, R.A.J.; Murphy, M.P. Mitochondria-targeted antioxidants as therapies. Med. 2011, 11, 106–114.Frantz, M.-C.; Wipf, P. Mitochondria as a target in treatment, Mol. Mutagen. 2010, 51, 462–475.Liberman, E.; Skulachev, V. Conversion of biomembrane-produced energy into electric form. IV. General discussion. Biophys. Acta (BBA) – Bioenergetics. 1970, 216, 30–42.