Alumni Dissertations and Theses

 
 

Alumni Dissertations and Theses

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  • SPECIATION OF TECHNETIUM-99 INCORPORATED INTO METAL OXIDE MATRICES: A MOLECULAR LEVEL UNDERSTANDING OF Tc-99 REDUCTION AND ITS COMPLEXATION INTO POLYOXOMETALATES

    Author:
    DONNA MCGREGOR
    Year of Dissertation:
    2009
    Program:
    Chemistry
    Advisor:
    Lynn Francesconi
    Abstract:

    Technetium-99 (99Tc) is a long-lived (T1/2 = 2.13 x 105 years) β-emitting (Emax = 294 KeV) radionuclide formed during the fission of 235U and fallout from nuclear weapons testing. It exists in relatively high concentrations in nuclear waste tanks, and the pertechnetate (TcO4-) anion has been shown to leach into surrounding subsurface soils and groundwaters. Due to its long half-life and the high mobility of the pertechnetate (TcO4-) anion, 99) Tc management is an issue for both waste characterization and long-term storage. A better understanding of both its extensive redox chemistry and the parameters that affect the speciation and coordination environment of Tc will promote the development of more appropriate methods for the separation of Tc from nuclear waste tanks as well as more fitting mediums for storage. Polyoxometalates (POMs) are early transition metal oxide clusters that are chemically robust. They have homogeneous crystalline structures and are known to be good model systems for metal oxide solid-state materials such as the glasses and ceramics used to house nuclear waste. The synthesis of pure 99Tc-POM compounds, however, is complicated by both the unwanted hydrolysis of the Tc(V) starting material and difficulties with the separation of the free POM ligand from the desired 99Tc-POM complex. We have developed methods for the clean synthesis of the 99Tc - (α1-P2W17O61)10-) and (α2-P2W17O61)10-) Wells-Dawson POM compounds (as both organic and aqueous soluble complexes) and characterized them using various spectroscopic techniques. POMs also have unique, tunable, electron transfer abilities and can be reduced, both electrochemically and photochemically in the presence of a sacrificial electron donor, by multiple electrons while maintaining their structural integrity. To this end we have investigated a number of POMs; Keggin ions, (XW12O40n-), X=P, n=3; Si, n=4; Al, n=5), the Wells-Dawson lacunary isomer (α2-P2W17O61) 10-), and a "wheel" POM, P8W48O18440-), for their ability to reduce pertechnetate and sequester low valent 99Tc. The resulting low valent Tc species have been characterized by physical methods including multinuclear NMR and electrochemistry.

  • Benzophenone photoprobes for chemical proteomics and drug target identification

    Author:
    Doina Mihai
    Year of Dissertation:
    2011
    Program:
    Chemistry
    Advisor:
    Akira Kawamura
    Abstract:

    Benzophenone photoprobes are widely used in photoaffinity-labeling studies, especially for the characterization of ligand-receptor interaction. Photolabeling studies using benzophenone, however, are by no means routine experiments. It is not uncommon that carefully designed photoligands fail to label target proteins. In order to get insights into the important factors that affect the photolabeling efficiency, we conducted a structure-activity relationship study (SAR) on adenine-benzophenone photoligands. The study suggested that conformational flexibility was the determining factor that controls the photolabeling efficiency by benzophenone photoprobes. In theory, photoaffinity-labeling can also be used for target identification of small molecules. However, the complexity of proteins in biological samples, such as cell lysate, tissue homogenates and serum samples, limits the use of benzophenone photoprobes in drug target identification and chemical proteomics. By using so called "blocking strategy" we were able to systematically classify the list of proteins identified from photoaffinity-labeling studies using benzophenone. The findings of this study enabled us to refine the experimental protocol for drug target identification and chemical proteomics using benzophenone photoprobes. During the affinity purification of phochemically biotinylated proteins, we discovered that monomeric avidin resin can selectively enrich heat shock proteins (Hsps) from complex proteomes. Although such serum Hsps or circulating Hsps, has been linked to various diseases, including cancer and cardiovascular diseases, their characterization have been hampered be the abundant proteins in serum such as albumin and immunoglobulings. The development of simple and reproducible method for Hsp enrichment opens a new opportunity to define the roles of circulating Hsps in various diseases.

  • Chiral Sulfurization For Synthesis Of Antisense Oligonucleotides

    Author:
    Joshua Mukhlall
    Year of Dissertation:
    2010
    Program:
    Chemistry
    Advisor:
    William Hersh
    Abstract:

    Chapter 1: Antisense and RNA interference (RNAi) reagents are two of the most widely studied oligonucleotide-based therapeutics. Phosphorothioate oligonucleotide, an antisense reagent, has a stereogenic center at the phosphorothioate linkage and in the absence of enantioselective synthesis, a mixture of diastereomers results. Stereodefined phosphorothioates have shown greater antisense activity; however, only a few research groups have successfully designed methods for enantioselective synthesis of phosphorothioates with >98% de, albeit in low yields. This dissertation presents a conceptually different method for enantioselective synthesis of phosphorothioate oligonucleotides via a Curtin-Hammett system that requires epimerization of the phosphite triester on the reaction time scale and selective sulfurization of one of the equilibrating epimers with a chiral sulfurizing reagent. Chapter 2: 2-Cyanoethyl[5'-O-acetyl-2'-deoxythymylyl]-(3',5')-3'-O-(acetyl)-2'-deoxythymidine phosphite triester was found to invert at 150 ºC with ΔG = 33.0 ± 0.2 kcal/mol. Separation of the two diastereomers of the phosphite triester was successfully achieved via its 2-cyanoethyl[5'-O-(p,p'-dimethoxytrityl)-2'-deoxythymylyl]-(3',5')-3'-O-(tert-butyldimethylsilyl)-2'-deoxythymidine boranophosphate analogue. For the inversion study the p,p'-dimethoxytrityl and tert-butyldimethylsilyl groups were substituted with acetyl groups to reduce decomposition during heating. Attempts to induce inversion at lower temperature with acidic and radical species failed. Chapter 3: Chiral analogues of phenylacetyl disulfide (PADS) and 5-methyl-3H-1,2,4-dithiazol-3-one (MEDITH) were synthesized from the same α-alkylated carboxylic acids to give products with enantiomeric purities of 99.0 to >99.9% and 86.1-99.4%, respectively. X-ray diffraction results for one pair of enantiomers unequivocally establish the absolute configurations of two disulfides, and density functional theory (DFT) calculations suggest that the observed high specific rotations could be due to preferred retention of helicity about the S-S bond in solution. Chapter 4: Phosphite triesters with varying degrees of steric hindrance around the phosphorus atom (β-cyanoethyl, TMS, TBDMS, and TPS derivatives) were screened against chiral analogues of PADS and MEDITH. The RPS:SPS diastereomeric ratios of the resulting phosphite sulfides or phosphorothioates were determined by reverse-phase HPLC, and a numerical procedure was developed to express the diastereoselectivity of the reactions. The best selectivities to give RPS enriched and SPS enriched phosphorothioates were achieved with MEDITH analogues (S)-6d (naproxen derivative) (14.7% de) and (S)-6c (isopropyl group at the α position) (-7.9% de), respectively, when reacted with the phosphite triester bearing the TMS group.

  • SYNTHESIS, CHARACTERIZATION, RAMAN, AND SURFACE ENHANCED RAMAN STUDIES OF SEMICONDUCTOR QUANTUM DOTS

    Author:
    Yi Pan
    Year of Dissertation:
    2012
    Program:
    Chemistry
    Advisor:
    John Lombardi
    Abstract:

    The major contributions and discoveries of the dissertation include: (1) Homogeneous nucleation processes for the formation of nanocrystals can occur at low temperature and do not need to proceed at high temperature to overcome a high energy barrier. Monodisperse PbS quantum dots (QDs) obtained with nucleation and growth at 45°C support this finding. (2) Monodisperse single elemental Se QDs can be produced by simple solution crystallization from TDE (1-tetradecene) or ODE (1-octadecene). (3) TDE is a better non-coordinating solvent compare to ODE. STDE (S dissolved in TDE) and SeTDE (Se dissolved in TDE) are stable reagents with long storage time. They can be used as universal precursors for S-containing and Se-containing QDs. (4) QDs synthesis can be carried out at low temperature and relatively short reaction time using the simple, non-injection, one-pot synthetic method. (5) The one-pot method can be extended for the synthesis of QDs and graphene oxide nanocomposites and metal and graphene oxide nanocomposites. (6) PbCl2-OLA (oleylamine) is a universal system for the synthesis of Pb-chaclogenides QDs. (7) Surface enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS) is used to probe both size and wave length dependent quantum confinement effects (QCEs) of PbS QDs. (8) Raman spectroscopy is a powerful tool to elucidate crystal structure of Se nanoclusters with size of 1-2 nm. Semiconductor QDs have attracted considerable attention due to their potential for energy-efficient materials in optoelectronic and solar cell applications. When the radius of a QD is decreased to that of the exciton Bohr radius, the valence and conduction bands are known to split into narrower bands due to QCEs. QCEs are both size and wave length dependent. We have developed, synthesized and characterized a series of Pb-chaclogenide QDs, which all the sizes of the QDs are monodisperse and smaller than their respective exciton Bohr radius, to study the QCEs of these QDs. SERS is used as a crucial tool to investigate these QCEs. The QCEs are due to any of the following three resonances or a combination among them: interband resonance, molecular state resonance, and charge-transfer resonance.

  • Applications of Bionanotechnology

    Author:
    Christophe Pejoux
    Year of Dissertation:
    2011
    Program:
    Chemistry
    Advisor:
    Hiroshi Matsui
    Abstract:

    The aim of nanotechnology is to devise technologies at the crossroads of chemistry, physics and biology to shape matter at the atomic scale to form nanosized functional objects and to arrange them into intricate assemblies to elaborate new devices. Today, its biological aspect is largely emphasized to tackle biomedical issues such as pathogen identification, disease diagnosis and treatment. In this respect, interdigitated electrodes were employed to monitor the presence of harmful bacteria, then to attempt to detect human PC3 carcinoma prostate cells as well as the size variation of stimulus-responsive hydrogel beads designed for drug delivery. Our second project aimed at demonstrating the potential use of TiO2-labeled antibodies as substitute for horse-radish peroxidase-labeled antibodies for Enzyme-Linked ImmunoSorbent Assays (ELISA). Our last project revolved around harnessing the enzymatic activity of urease to grow silver-sulfide nanoparticles.

  • FACTORS AFFECTING THE REMOVAL OF AMMONIA FROM AIR ON CARBONACEOUS ADSORBENTS: INVESTIGATION OF REACTIVE ADSORPTION MECHANISM

    Author:
    Camille Petit
    Year of Dissertation:
    2011
    Program:
    Chemistry
    Advisor:
    Teresa Bandosz
    Abstract:

    Air pollution related to the release of industrial toxic gases, represents one of the main concerns of our modern world owing to its detrimental effect on the environment. To tackle this growing issue, efficient ways to reduce/control the release of pollutants are required. Adsorption of gases on porous materials appears as a potential solution. However, the physisorption of small molecules of gases such as ammonia is limited at ambient conditions. For their removal, adsorbents providing strong adsorption forces must be used/developed. In this study, new carbon-based materials are prepared and tested for ammonia adsorption at ambient conditions. Characterization of the adsorbents' texture and surface chemistry is performed before and after exposure to ammonia to identify the features responsible for high adsorption capacity and for controlling the mechanisms of retention. The characterization techniques include: nitrogen adsorption, thermal analysis, potentiometric titration, FT-IR spectroscopy, X-ray diffraction, Energy Dispersive X-ray spectroscopy, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy and Electron Microscopy. The results obtained indicate that ammonia removal is governed by the adsorbent's surface chemistry. On the contrary, porosity (and thus physisorption) plays a secondary role in this process, unless strong dispersive forces are provided by the adsorbent. The surface chemistry features responsible for the enhanced ammonia adsorption include the presence of oxygen- (carboxyl, hydroxyl, epoxy) and sulfur- (sulfonic) containing groups. Metallic species improve the breakthrough capacity as well as they lead to the formation of Lewis acid-base interactions, hydrogen-bonding or complexation. In addition to the latter three mechanisms, ammonia is retained on the adsorbent surface via Brønsted acid-base interactions or via specific reactions with the adsorbent's functionalities leading to the incorporation of ammonia into the adsorbent's matrix. Another mechanism involves dissolution of ammonia in water when moisture is present in the system. Even though this process increases the breakthrough capacity of a material, it provides rather weak retention forces since ammonia dissolved in water is easily desorbed from the adsorbent's surface.

  • PEPTIDE NANOTUBES AND THE EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN INTEGRATING NANOPARTICLES FOR USE IN NANOELECTRONICS

    Author:
    Precila Porrata
    Year of Dissertation:
    2009
    Program:
    Chemistry
    Advisor:
    Hiroshi Matsui
    Abstract:

    Scientists have just begun to explore the world of nanotechnology, as instruments become more sophisticated areas previously unable to be seen or probed can now be studied. Peptide nanotubes are often used in experiments since they are extremely versatile. They are nontoxic, self-assembled, they have available functional groups in order to bind to other compounds and the tubule structure allows for the exclusivity of inside or outside binding. The ability of the peptide tubes to bind to other compounds permits biomineralization and additionally creates an atmosphere of selective binding to desired locations. The importance in using peptide nanotubes for study becomes the ability to rely on consistency of the shape and size. Ph factors can regulate whether a tubule or sheet is formed in solution, while controlling the diameter has been achieved through the use of various membranes, such as polycarbonate and alumina oxide. One of the main goals in nanotechnology is the ability to create functional machines of decreased size, improved storage capacity and faster cooler electrical components, therefore, making peptide nanotubes with electrical properties is of extreme interest. This dissertation takes a look at the properties of peptides coated with FePt and Pt.

  • Cationic amphiphilic synthetic macromolecules with superior antibacterial activity

    Author:
    Ashish Punia
    Year of Dissertation:
    2015
    Program:
    Chemistry
    Advisor:
    Nan-Loh Yang
    Abstract:

    The increasing prevalence of antibiotic resistant bacteria (superbugs) has created a pressing need for new systems of antimicrobial agents. In this dissertation, I report on my extensive research on the design, synthesis, and development of synthetic amphiphilic macromolecules with antimicrobial activity and very low hemolytic impact. Synthetic amphiphilic polymers attack bacteria directly to rupture the cell membrane through electrostatic and hydrophobic interactions. However, the toxicity of such synthetic amphiphilic polymers against mammalian cells have impeded their therapeutic applications. We investigated the systematic structure/activities relationships for antibacterial and hemolytic activities of amphiphilic polyacrylates and poly(vinyl esters). Acrylate homopolymers with various lengths of alkyl pendant groups displayed high antibacterial activity against Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) and very low hemolytic activity toward red blood cells (RBCs). In comparison with polyacrylate homopolymers, random copolymers were highly antibacterial but extremely hemolytic. To further improve antibacterial activity of polyacrylates, while maintaining low hemolytic activity, a series of copolymers with 2-carbon and 6-carbon spacer arm (distance between polymer backbone and cationic center) counits were investigated. Our strategy of controlling charge distribution and mole ratios of 2-carbon (M2) and 6-carbon counits (M6) resulted in a polymer with >200 fold selectivity toward Escherichia coli (E. coli) over RBCs. Copolymerization of just 10 mole% of shorter spacer arm M2 counits with hydrophobic M6 counits led to a drastic reduction in hemolytic activity by a factor of 850 compared with highly hemolytic M6 homopolymer, without severe deterioration of antibacterial activity. Scanning electron microscopy analysis of bacterial cells established the membrane rupture action of these polymers. In a second acrylate system, hydrophilic and biocompatible poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG) monomers were copolymerized with M6 monomer to achieve selective (bacteria over RBCs) antibacterial activity in polymers. Incorporation of 30 mole% of PEG monomer led to a polymer with >100 times selectivity toward E. coli over RBCs. The Hydrogen-bonding ability of the PEG segments plays significant roles. For a third system of poly(vinyl ester), we explored the role of hydrophobic side groups, molecular weight, and amphiphilicity on its activities. This dissertation investigation has led to one of the most promising synthetic polymer systems reported till today for antimicrobial applications.

  • SELF-ORGANIZED PORPHYRIN NANOMATERIALS FOR SOLAR ENERGY HARVESTING

    Author:
    Ivana Radivojevic
    Year of Dissertation:
    2010
    Program:
    Chemistry
    Advisor:
    Charles Drain
    Abstract:

    New concepts in the design and function of organic dyes as sensitizers for solar energy harvesting are needed. Commercial viability constrains these designs: (a) cost effective synthesis, (b) long-term stability, and (c) an important goal is to reduce the environmental impact of the product at the end of its life cycle. Simple porphyrinoid dyes meet these constraints, but new modes of incorporation into devices are needed to increase the efficiency of charge separation that drives any photonic device designed to harvest light. In this thesis, we will show how complex material architectures on surfaces need not to be the result of complex molecular structures or strong intermolecular forces that form in solution and deposit intact onto surfaces. Varying environmental conditions we can dictate morphology of self-organized structures on surfaces. These studies provide further insights into the design principles, processing, and extent of electron and energy transfer in supramolecular porphyrin materials. We are also developing a new strategy to couple porphyrinoid dyes to oxide surfaces using hafnium and zirconium metalloporphyrins and metallophthalocyanines. The mode of dye attachment to oxide surfaces is a key parameter for the construction of efficient dye sensitized solar cells. Porphyrinoid dyes containing oxophylic group (IV) metal ions that protrude from on face of the macrocycle allow connections directly to oxide surfaces, wherein the metal ion serves as the conduit. Since the charge transport efficiency is mediated by appropriate matching of molecular HOMO-LUMO gaps to semiconductor band gaps, we will show characterized solution phase ground and excited redox potentials of these dyes, and also photophysical properties of dye excited state using transient absorbance spectroscopy.

  • Metal Nanoparticles Immobilized on Basic Supports as Catalysts for Hydrogenation and Dehydrogenation Reactions of Relevance to Cleaner Fossil Fuels and Alternative Sources of Energy

    Author:
    Reena Rahi
    Year of Dissertation:
    2014
    Program:
    Chemistry
    Advisor:
    Roberto Sanchez-Delgado
    Abstract:

    We developed a series of catalysts, composed of metal nanoparticles immobilized on basic supports for the hydrogenation of heteroaromatics of relevance to cleaner fossil fuels and biodiesel, and for the dehydrogenation of heteroaromatics of relevance to hydrogen storage in organic liquids. Our catalyst design involves nanostructured catalysts composed of metal particles immobilized on basic supports capable of ionic mechanism that may avoid catalyst poisoning and enhance catalytic activity. We prepared a new catalyst composed of Pd nanoparticles immobilized on MgO by NaBH4 reduction of Na2PdCl4 in methanol in the presence of the support. TEM measurements revealed well-dispersed 1.7 nm Pd particles attached to MgO, also characterized by XPS, XRD and hydrogen pulse chemisorption measurements. The new catalyst is efficient for the hydrogenation of the heterocyclic ring of quinolines, as well as for the mild reduction of a variety of alkenes representative of fuel components, and the partial saturation of biodiesel. In the second part, we switched our attention to ruthenium nanoparticles, with the aim of achieving higher activity and broader reactivity, supported on functionalized carbon nanotubes, of higher surface area. Our second catalyst was prepared by first attaching pyridine groups to the surface of the nanotubes, and then depositing the metal particles by NaBH4 reduction of RuCl3.3H2O. TEM, XRD and XPS analysis indicate the presence of 1.7 nm Ru(0) particles attached mainly to the surface of the nanotubes. The Ru/py-CNTs results in an unprecedentedly high activity for the selective hydrogenation of N-heteroaromatic compounds, with respect to other reported systems. The activity of this catalyst was extended also to plain aromatic compounds under mild conditions and to the challenging S-heteroaromatics under more forcing conditions. Lastly, we evaluated the efficacy of the catalyst for the dehydrogenation of 1,2,3,4-tetrahydroquinoline, which was achieved with reasonable turnover frequencies under moderate conditions. The hydrogenation/dehydrogenation reactions thus establish a cyclic process of possible utility in hydrogen storage in organic liquids. We screened other substrate pairs that may be adequate for hydrogen storage, by computational study of the thermodynamics of dehydrogenation, which allowed us to identify other N-heterocycles that may prove useful in future studies.