Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Degree Granting Department

Medical Sciences

Major Professor

Robert Deschenes, Ph.D., M.D.

Committee Member

Gloria C. Ferreira, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Eric Bennett, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Yu Chen, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Yashwant Pathak, Ph.D.


graphene quantum dots, nanoparticles, theranostics, ovarian cancer, toxicity


Ovarian cancer, one of the most dreadful malignancies of the female reproductive system, poses a lethal threat to women worldwide. In this dissertation, the objective was to introduce a novel type of graphene quantum dots (GQDs) based nano-sized drug delivery systems (DDS) for ovarian cancer treatment. As a starting point, the facile synthesis method of the GQDs was established. Subsequently, the targeting ligand,folic acid (FA), was conjugated to GQDs. Next, a FDA approved chemotherapeutic drug, Doxorubicin (DOX), was loaded to form the GQDs-FA-DOX nano-conjugation as the DDS. Moreover, the uptake profile and anti-cancer effect of the GQDs-FA-DOX were validated in ovarian cancer cells. Finally, the immunotoxicity of GQDs and its mechanism were investigated and elucidated. Taken together, the findings described in this dissertation provide a novel and powerful strategy of targeted treatment for ovarian cancer.