Gold nanoparticles have emerged as promising nanomaterials for biosensing, imaging, photothermal treatment and therapeutic delivery for several diseases, including cancer. We have generated poly(amino ether)-functionalized gold nanorods (PAE-GNRs) using a layer-by-layer deposition approach. Sub-toxic concentrations of PAE-GNRs were employed to deliver plasmid DNA to prostate cancer cells in vitro. PAE-GNRs generated using 1,4C-1,4Bis, a cationic polymer from our laboratory demonstrated significantly higher transgene expression and exhibited lower cytotoxicities when compared to similar assemblies generated using 25 kDa poly(ethylene imine) (PEI25k-GNRs), a current standard for polymer-mediated gene delivery. Additionally, sub-toxic concentrations of 1,4C-1,4Bis-GNR nanoassemblies were employed to deliver expression vectors that express shRNA ('shRNA plasmid') against firefly luciferase gene in order to knock down expression of the protein constitutively expressed in prostate cancer cells. The roles of poly(amino ether) chemistry and zeta-potential in determining transgene expression efficacies of PAE-GNR assemblies were investigated. The theranostic potential of 1,4C-1,4Bis-GNR nanoassemblies was demonstrated using live cell two-photon induced luminescence bioimaging. The PAE class of polymers was also investigated for the one pot synthesis of both gold and silver nanoparticles using a small library poly(amino ethers) derived from linear-like polyamines. Efficient nanoparticle synthesis dependent on concentration of polymers as well as polymer chemical composition is demonstrated. Additionally, the application of poly(amino ether)-gold nanoparticles for transgene delivery is demonstrated in 22Rv1 and MB49 cancer cell lines. Base polymer, 1,4C-1,4Bis and 1,4C-1,4Bis templated and modified gold nanoparticles were compared for transgene delivery efficacies. Differences in morphology and physiochemical properties were investigated as they relate to differences in transgene delivery efficacy. There were found to be minimal differences suggestion that 1,4C-1,4Bis efficacy is not lost following use for nanoparticle modification. These results indicate that poly(amino ether)-gold nanoassemblies are a promising theranostic platform for delivery of therapeutic payloads capable of simultaneous gene silencing and bioimaging.