University of Southern Indiana

Research interests


    Design and synthesis of novel polymeric and monomeric fluorescent compounds for photodynamic therapy.

    Photodynamic therapy (PDT) is an alternative cancer treatment that uses a light sensitive drug molecule (photosensitizer), along with light to kill cancer cells. The drug is inactive in the dark and gets activated in the presence of light to produce a toxic substance that kills cancer cells  The toxic substance can be singlet oxygen (a toxic form of oxygen) or a radical. The drug can be administered through a vein, directly injected into the tumor, or applied on the skin. After the drug is absorbed and accumulated by the cancer cells, light is applied to the area to be treated. A laser light can be used as the light source for PDT. Laser light can be directed through fiber optic cables to deliver light to tumors inside the body. In addition, this method is useful in cancer diagnostic imaging as well because the gloving photosensitizer (PS) accumulates in the cancer and can be imaged. PDT has many advantages over surgery and radiation therapy and has no long-term side effects.  PDT costs less than conventional cancer treatments. In our lab, we design and synthesize fluorescent molecules for PDT and evaluate their activity. 

  • Design and synthesis of novel polymeric and monomeric fluorescent compounds for Excitation Energy Transfer (EET).

    Excitation energy transfer (EET) is the key process occurring in photosynthesis which enables tunnel captured light energy to reaction centers.  When two chromophores are in proximity, high energy absorbing chromophore (donor) transfers its excitation energy to the low energy absorbing one (acceptor). This process has been mimicked in energy transfer cassettes for various applications such as labeling of biomolecules, imaging, laser dyes, solar cells, chemical sensors, fluorescent indicators and probes, ion sensors, and artificial light harvesting arrays. In out lab we design and synthesize polymeric and monomeric fluorescent molecules for EET.


         Indiana Academy of Science, November 2007

         Science and Engineering Research Grant Award, Fall 2009

         Indiana Academy of Science, Spring 2010

         Endeavor Research Award, Spring 2010

         Faculty Research and Creative Work Award, Spring 2010

         Faculty Research and Creative Work Award, Spring 2011

         Science and Engineering Research Grant Award, Fall 2011

         Endeavor Research Award, Spring 2015

        Tenured or Clinical faculty Grant award 2017

         Endeavor Research Award, Spring 2018


        Dr. Sergiy V. Rosokha, Department of Chemistry, Ball State University, Muncie, Indiana 47304, USA (ongoing)

        Dr. Jeff Wiggins, School of Polymers and High Performance Materials,  University of Southern Mississippi (2010-2011).

Dr. Phil Castellano, Center for Photochemical Sciences, Bowling Green State University Ohio (current location, NC State University, NC (2010-2011).

        Dr. Richard Bennett, Department of Biology, University of Southern Indiana, (2011-ongoing)

        Dr. Jeff Seyler, Department of Chemistry, University of Southern Indiana (2011-2013)



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