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Shedding Light on Biological and Ecological Function
AuthorFetto, Natalie Rose
AdvisorTucker, Matthew J.
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Electronic spectroscopy is a technique which can be used to understand inter- and intra- molecular interaction, structure, coloration and function within biological and ecological systems. Herein, electronic spectroscopy will be utilized to evaluate novel fluorescence probes for studies of peptide-protein interactions and viscosity. The efficacy of three non-natural amino acid probes will be evaluated for their ability to uncover crucial peptide-protein interactions important for understanding the functionality, providing information for drug design and disease treatment. Additionally, lanthanide complexes will be evaluated as viscosity probes, with unique two-photon absorption properties, for bioimaging studies. Utilizing these developed fluorescence and luminescence probes a variety of biological systems can be investigated such as drug binding and changes in viscosity within the blood. In addition to these biosystems, ecological systems are also explored through various electronic spectroscopy and imaging techniques. Cabbage white butterfly wings were evaluated to determine the source of wing reflectance and coloration. The techniques developed within this study could easily be expanded to a variety of different butterflies, or perhaps even other insects and animals, to potentially uncover mate selection mechanisms as well as aid in designing mimics for material design. Finally, the field of electronic spectroscopy was expanded through the proposal of a novel design for two-dimensional white-light spectroscopy studies. This new design utilizes a novel nonlinear crystal to generate supercontinuum which will access the deep-UV, a region not easily accessible by prior techniques. Access to this region will pave the way to utilize our newly developed and evaluated fluorescence and luminescence probes within this work. Through this spectroscopy, new biological and ecological samples will be investigated with higher spatial and temporal resolution then the typical methods used. Overall, the combination of electronic spectroscopy and these newly developed fluorescence/luminescence probes has expanded the spectroscopic toolkit available for investigating structure and function of biological and ecological systems. These developments will benefit further scientific endeavors in a large variety of fields such as of biophysics and ecology.