Faculty Sponsor's Department(s):
Using organic synthetic chemistry, we can focus on constructing new molecules for applications in novel materials. One group of materials of particular interest are those which can imitate natural tissues, providing promise in areas of regenerative medicine and studying cell behavior. To improve biomimetic materials, chemical methods that enable spatial control are needed to mimic and support the natural organization of tissues. One way this can be achieved is through exploiting photochemical reactions because they are controlled through light, which is an easily manipulated and controlled stimuli. Our group has introduced a new type of photochemistry using Cyclopentadienone-Norbornadiene (CPD-NBD) adducts in a photo-induced Diels–Alder reaction. Previous, challenges have arisen in the application of CPD-NBD chemistry to biomaterials due to the compatibility and solubility when introduced in a biological setting. To address this challenge for use in cell culture, a new water-soluble CPD-NBD compound was designed. To access this compound a seven-step synthesis was designed and performed to introduce solubilizing functionalities while preserving the photochemical reactivity. This water soluble CPD-NBD molecule can then be utilized in aqueous photopatterning of materials for applications in biological systems. Through patterning of biomolecules, like cell adhesive peptides, which would allow us to implement this chemistry into medical practices like tissue engineering and therapeutics.