Chemistry ETDs


Zhijun Zhou

Publication Date



This dissertation has been focusing on two subjects: biosensor development and light-activated antimicrobials. A cyanine-based fluorescent biosensor is developed with high sensitivity to detect the presence and activity of caspase-3/7. We demonstrated that supramolecular self-assembly can be useful for designing biosensors. A series of p-Phenylene Ethynylenes (OPEs) have been synthesized. Further photophysical studies show that these molecules have good singlet oxygen yields. The antimicrobial capability increases dramatically when exposed to UV-365 radiation, though dark biocidal activity can be obtained as well. This phenomenon is probably due to the high yields of singlet oxygen of these OPEs, which oxidizes unsaturated membrane and inner components of bacteria, such as protein, DNA, etc. viii Coupled with our previous work about the interactions of EO-OPE-1s with DOPC/cholesterol vesicles, we believe the biocidal process involves (1) EO-OPE-1s penetrate the bacterial membrane, (2) EO-OPE-1s photosensitize the generation of singlet oxygen and other reactive oxygen species and (3) singlet oxygen and/or reactive oxygen species trigger the cytotoxicity.




biocides, self-assembly, singlet oxygen, Light-induced, Biosensor, cyanine, ope

Document Type


Degree Name


Level of Degree


Department Name

Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology

First Advisor

Whitten, David

First Committee Member (Chair)

Keller, David

Second Committee Member

Canavan, Heather

Third Committee Member

Guo, Hua

Fourth Committee Member

Schanze, Kirk

Fifth Committee Member

Whitten, David