We are pleased to announce that Chemistry's Samantha Klein has successfully defended her doctoral dissertation "A Break In Communication: The Synthesis, Characterization, DNA Binding and Photocleavage of a Novel Ruthenium Polypyridyl Complex Containing an Electronically Isolated Pyrene Group". Her dissertation was co-advised by Professor Jonas Goldsmith and Dean Sharon Burgmayer.
Samantha's work challenged one component of a paradigm typical in her field, in which chemical complexes are designed so that there is extended electronic communication between a metal center and the part of the complex designed to bind to DNA. Her dissertation challenged the purpose of this extended electronic communication for the complex’s ability to bind to DNA. This was done by synthesizing a novel complex containing an electronically isolated pyrene group that would be likely to bind to DNA between its base pairs. By studying complexes and substituted pyrenes similar in structure to the complex of interest, she were able to show what effect this break in communication had on the novel complex’s ability to interact with DNA.