In our lab we synthesize model compounds of the active sites of metal-based proteins to probe structure-function relationships. The work involves organic and inorganic syntheses and a variety of analytical techniques including UV-visible and fluorescence spectroscopy, NMR, IR, magnetic susceptibility and X-ray crystallography. I am currently exploring two ligands and a variety of transition metals for use in these systems.
N-confused porphyrin is an isomer of regular porphyrin that differs structurally by 'confusion' of one pyrrole ring leading to one carbon and three nitrogen atoms at the macrocycle core. This structural change leads to a reduction in symmetry and alters the spectroscopy and coordination chemistry of this ligand. We have been working to synthesize water soluble variants of N-confused porphyrin by incorporation of charged groups at the macrocycle periphery. Solution state and aggregation properties for a tetra-sulfonated variant are currently being explored. These macrocycles may have potential therapeutic applications as photosensitizers.
Diphenyldipyrazolymethane is a chelating ligand that will be used to study magnetic communication between copper(II) d9 metal centers in hemocyanin-like model systems. Dinuclear, bridged compounds will be synthesized and the magnetic communication between the metal centers will be studied using temperature dependent magnetic susceptibility. Based on structural parameters, these compounds, and similar compounds from the literature, will be evaluated to determine structure-function relationships.
In addition, I will be working to develop a series of bioinorganic experiments for use in a new laboratory course. The hope is to publish a manual for this course, as one does not currently exist. The work will entail creating and testing experiments suitable for an undergraduate lab section.