Mentor: Professor S. Burgmayer
Interest in pteridine chemistry is motivated by the interactions with transition metals. Pteridine complexes play a role in biological systems whether in enzymes or DNA. Resembling the transition metals, the pterin has the ability of conducting multi-electron redox reactivity which makes a complex of the pterin and transition metal behave unlike conventional complexes of the same formal oxidiation. This property issues a challenge for further investigation.
Professor Burgmayer’s research group has delved into two major areas of pteridine study. Molybdopterin, a dithiolene organic complex, coupled with molybdenum functions in enzymes which are employed in humans as well as metabolic reactions in plants and anaerobic respiration in bacteria. The lab is working to synthesize molybdeunum pterinyl-dithiolene complexes that mimic these cofactors. Due to the structure of pterins matching purines and pyrimidines of DNA, a look into DNA distortions by these molecules is warranted. Therefore, the group has also been synthesizing and studying various Ru(bpy)2(phenanthroline-pteridine) complexes as DNA intercalators.
Taking previously synthesized molybdenum and ruthenium complexes, I will be focused on crystallizing and characterizing their structures through X-ray crystallography. The determined structures will clarify the unique physical property of pterin-transition metal complexes. I will also be helping in the continuation of the synthesis of the Ru complexes and developing the synthesis of other transition metals with phenanthroline-pteridine ligands to study structural activity through hydrogen bonding.