The functions and medical applications of gold nanoparticles

Posted by hct16 at Feb 20, 2013 11:30 AM |
Professor Mathias Brust to give guest lecture on Monolayer Protected Clusters of Gold at the University of Leicester on Thursday 21 February

Issued by University of Leicester Press Office 20 February 2013

A nanoscale science expert will explain how extremely stable gold nanoparticles can be used in medicine.

Professor Mathias Brust, of the University of Liverpool, will give his lecture Monolayer Protected Clusters of Gold: Building Blocks, Functional Materials, Macromolecules, Biomedical Tools and more at the University of Leicester on Thursday, February 21.

The event is the latest in the Interdisciplinary Science Guest Research Lecture series, which aims to provide lectures accessible to non-experts from researchers of various scientific backgrounds.

Professor Mathias Brust will explain the main research findings to date on Monolayer Protected Clusters (MPCs) – a term first coined in the 1990s.

These are metal nanoparticles, usually gold, of unprecedented stability owing to a protective coating formed by organic thiol ligands.

He will also explain how they can be used in biomedical applications.

Professor Mathias Brust said: “In this lecture I will first introduce MPCs in the context of the scientific climate of the 1990s and then review from my personal point of view some highlights in gold nanoparticle chemistry that followed. In particular, I will discuss the importance of preparative ease, nanoparticle stability and chemical versatility.

“Unlike typical organic macromolecules, MPCs are capable of storing excess charge in their metallic core, which leads to unique electrochemical phenomena such as quantized capacitance charging. A further important ramification of the field is due to the development of water soluble MPCs allowing their use in biomedical applications, which is currently the fastest growing area in which MPCs are of interest.

“I will give a few examples of the use of biomolecularly functionalized MPCs to address specific biomedical problems including therapy of cancer. I will conclude by briefly reporting our most recent work at Liverpool on MPCs that overcome biological membrane boundaries, before attempting to present some future perspectives.”

Professor Brust obtained his PhD in Physical Chemistry in 1995, and then did postdoctoral research at the University of Buenos Aires, the University of Texas at Austin, and the University of Liverpool.

He was awarded an EPSRC Advanced Research Fellowship in 1998 and established his research group at Liverpool.

He is mainly recognised for his contribution to the development of the Brust–Schiffrin method for the preparation of monolayer protected gold clusters.

His research interests include aspects of metal nanoparticle chemistry, nanoelectronics and bionanotechnology. His current focus is on understanding interactions between metal nanoparticles and biological systems.

The lecture will be held in Room E, Physics and Astronomy building, University of Leicester, on Thursday, February 21 from 5pm to 6.30pm.

The lecture is free, but anyone interested will need to book a place.

To book a place, please contact Alex Mack, Centre for Interdisciplinary Science manager, on 0116 252 3575 or at:



For more information, please contact Professor Mathias Brust on 0151 794 3554 or at:

More details about Professor Brust can be found at:

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