Access Type

Open Access Dissertation

Date of Award

January 2014

Degree Type


Degree Name



Chemical Engineering and Materials Science

First Advisor

Sandro R.P. da Rocha


This Dissertation focuses on addressing two of the major challenges in developing pressurized metered dose inhalers for pulmonary drug / gene delivery to and through the lungs. First challenge is to design biocompatible moieties for the steric stabilization of suspension formulations in HFO-based propellants. Using a combination of tools including ab initio calculation, molecular dynamics simulation and high pressure tensiometry, potential fluorocarbon-philic moieties were systematically screened. Surfactants with those chemistries as tail fragments were studied at the HFO|H2O interface for their ability to lower the interfacial tension at HFO|H2O interface. Selected surfactants were further optimized for surfactant balance by altering the head to tail ratio.

The second challenge is to design PAMAM functional dendrimer nanocarriers for the delivery of therapeutics to and through the lungs. Using molecular dynamics simulations, we investigate the microstructures of PAMAM dendrimers as a function of generation, PEGylation density, PEGylation PEG length, dendrimer terminal chemistry. Our discussion is focused on how the differences in microstructures of PAMAM dendrimers will affect the function, efficacy and efficiency of PAMAM dendrimer as drug / gene nanocarriers