Student Spotlight: Matthew Sydor

Image of Matthew Sydor

During Matthew Sydor’s time as the Core Fellow for the Biospectroscopy Core Research Lab (BCRL), he was able to investigate the interaction between engineered nano-materials (ENM) and biologically relevant lipid membranes. ENM are widely used in everyday items, such as sunscreens, cosmetics, electronics, and various biomedical applications, so there is a concern for human exposure. The way in which these materials interact with the lipid membranes of cells is important for understanding potential adverse effects and toxicity. In order to study ENM-induced changes to lipid membranes, liposome model systems were used along with a fluorescence probe, Di-4-ANEPPDHQ, which reports on the lipid order of the system. By using the time-resolved fluorimeter of the BCRL, anisotropy data on the wobble of the fluorescence probe were acquired, which indicated how ordered or disordered the membrane was. These data were included in his publication that examined how two ENM changed the order of liposomes: “Effects of Titanium Dioxide and Zinc Oxide Nano-materials on Lipid Order in Model Membranes”. To further understand the extent to which the ENM adhere to the liposome membranes, fluorescence correlation spectroscopy (FCS) experiments were performed. The PicoQuant MicroTime 200 was used to measure the diffusion rates of fluorescently labeled liposomes, indicating whether or not ENM were bound to the surface. In addition to the time-resolved fluorescence work, Mr. Sydor was able to take part in some live cell imaging using the Zeiss LSM 880. This involved imaging of macrophage-like THP-1 cells that express a fluorescently tagged ASC protein. Oligomerization of the ASC protein produced a visible fluorescent speck that is indicative of bioactivity of the ENM that they were treated with. By using high-resolution imaging, Mr. Sydor observed which ENM produced more speck formation in this particular cell line. Mr. Sydor would like to extend a special thanks to Dr. Zifan Wang, who guided him in these experiments and in learning this new instrumentation.