Date of Award

Spring 2018

Document Type

Honors Thesis


Basic Biomedical Science

First Advisor

Dr. Victor Huber

Second Advisor

Dr. Grigoriy Sereda

Third Advisor

Dr. Adam Hoppe


Nanoparticles, influenza, macrophage, fluorescent microscopy, hemagglutinin, opsonophagocytosis


Vaccination against influenza can significantly minimize the severity of an influenza virus infection, but these vaccines are not 100% effective at preventing and eliminating infections. The target of vaccine-induced immunity is the hemagglutinin (HA) protein expressed by the virus. Antibodies that bind to the HA protein protect the host through neutralization, initiation of complement, or by interacting with host immune cells. Virus neutralization requires high levels of antibodies, which may wane between vaccination and infection, antibodies that enhance host cellular responses are critical for maintaining anti-influenza immunity later during the season. It is known that Fc receptors contribute to the clearance of influenza viruses after vaccination, but the exact mechanism remains undefined. We have designed an uptake assay using silica nanoparticles to test the ability of antibodies to evaluate virus-associated opsonophagocytosis in macrophage cells. Pseudo virions were synthesized from silica nanoparticles and conjugated with a fluorescent label. HA protein was attached to the nanoparticles. Using antibodies, uptake of nanoparticles was monitored using fluorescent microscopy. Results show a significant difference in uptake when antibodies are used in comparison, indicating the assay can be used determine the effector function of antibody samples.



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