Research Interests

The Michels research group looks at host-guest photochemistry using primarily fluorescence spectroscopy. We're interested in studying compounds (guests) complexed within a supramolecular structure of interest (host), when they are excited by light. Currently we are interested in studying environmental pollutants such as furans and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) as our guest molecules. We are looking at how they interact with 3 different host systems: micelles, cyclodextrins (CD) and DNA. In the preliminary study, we are interested in two questions: 1) Can we detect the environmental pollutants at very low concentrations using fluorescence spectroscopy and 2) Does the rigidity of the host effect the ability of the guest to bind (micelles are the least rigid, and DNA the most rigid). After these initial questions have been addressed we hope to continue the work by looking at the potential harmful effects of the pollutants being bound to DNA; specifically when the pollutant absorbs light while in the presence of DNA, does it damage the DNA.