Faculty Research Interests
The following is a listing of chemistry professors and their research interests:
Biodegradable polyesters and polyolefins derived from agricultural products.
The development of optically active transition metal catalysts for the production of novel polymers. Specifically, we are targeting environmentally-friendly polymers derived from non-petrochemical feedstocks. Examples include biodegradable polyesters and polyolefins derived from agricultural products such as corn and fatty acids, respecively.
Correlation of optical spectroscopies to molecular structure; Laser spectroscopy.
Principle investigations have used pulsed-lasers, circular dichroism, and flurescence energy transfer to determine protein conformations.
The metabolism and intracellular transport of lipids are two areas of biochemistry that especially interest me. With the use of fluorescent analogs of cholesterol and sphingolipids, I am investigating how cells internalize and modify these molecules. My work involves both model liposome-membranes as well as fluorescent microscopy on cultured cells to answer biochemical questions pertaining to the mechanisms of these processes. The majority of my training in this field came from my postdoctoral experience in the Laboratory of Dr. Fred Schroeder (1988-1991), currently at Texas A&M and a recent sabbatical from Luther College (2000-2001) in the laboratory of Dr. Richard Pagano of the Mayo Clinic.
ESR spectroscopy of free radical intermediaes in biological systems; laser spectroscopy.
Most of my research since graduate school has involved the use of electron spin resonance to study free radical intermediates in the metabolism of xenobiotics. I collaborate with a chemist at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) in North Carolina which is a branch of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). I have also spent a sabbatical at Northwestern University where I learned about Raman spectroscopy. At Luther College I have been working with our laser spectroscopy instrumentation to develop fluorescence and Raman experiments to use in upper level courses.
Host-guest Supramolecular photochemistry and photophysics (with application to PhotoDynamic Therapy)
We are interested in studying how the structure of a photochemical probe (or guest) can affect its ability to interact with a biologically relevant supramolecular structure (ie: host). More specifically we are currently studying porphyrin probes and how they interact with protein solutions and vesicles (cell mimics), by using various fluorescence spectroscopy techniques. Porphyrins are the current leading candidates for new photodynamic drug therapies (PDT), and our basic research helps explain how structural features help or hinder various drug candidates' abilities to interact with key biological components.