Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name


Degree Program




Major Professor

Wang, Guijun

Second Advisor

Tarr, Matthew

Third Advisor

Hanson, Paul

Fourth Advisor

Rosenzweig, Zeev

Fifth Advisor

Evilia, Ronald


The objective of my PhD study was to develop and characterize new methods and sensors based on fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET) for bioanalysis. Chapter 3 describes the use of FRET between donor fluorophores and acceptor labeled murine macrophage cells. FRET microscopy was used to determine whether the donor molecules truly permeate through the cell membrane or only adsorb to the cell surface. This method was found to be partially successful since the donor red tail fluorescence overlapped with the sensitized acceptor fluorescence and led to false reading of FRET. We found that is easier to monitor delivery of acceptor molecules into donor-labeled cells. Using donor labeled cells it was possible to determine whether the acceptor molecules were actually delivered into cells. However, a relatively high acceptor concentration in the hundreds of micromolar level was needed to obtain measurable FRET signals in the 3-D cellular system. The results underscored the need to reduce the dimensionality of FRET systems in order to increase the FRET efficiency between donor and acceptor molecules. Chapter 4 describes the development of FRET sensing lipobeads labeled with donors and their use to evaluate the interactions of acceptor molecules with the phospholipid membrane of FRET sensing lipobeads. The change in the dimensionality of the system in which FRET occurs, improved the sensitivity of our measurements by 3-folds compared to FRET measurements in solution. We concluded that a molecular recognition component had to be added to the sensing particles to further increase their selectivity and sensitivity. Chapter 5 describes the development of FRET trap sensing beads and their use for screening nonfluorescent carbohydrates and glycoproteins. The FRET sensing technique was based on binding between dextran molecules labeled with Texas Red (Dextran-TR) and polystyrene microparticles labeled with Fluorescein tagged Concanavalin A (FITC-ConA). It was found that carbohydrates and glycoproteins inhibit the binding between dextran-TR and FITC-ConA labeled particles. The inhibition effect was concentration dependent thus enabled screening carbohydrates and glycoproteins based on their inhibition potency. The dissertation critically evaluates the performance of FRET microscopy and FRET based sensors in delivery and screening applications.


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