Bacteria can utilize chemical signals to coordinate the expression of group-beneficial behaviors in a mode of cell-cell communication called quorum sensing (QS). Once a quorate population of bacteria is achieved in a given environment, bacteria will work together as a group to initiate behaviors that are impossible as individual cells.
The behavior of molecules in the excited states can be dramatically different from the ground state, which can lead to a whole host of new reactivity. We seek to design molecules that can be controlled to exhibit different responses (i.e. bond cleaving reactions, emission of different colors of light) depending on the environment and conditions set by the user. These designs have applications in biomaterials and medical diagnostics. We are also developing methods to insert thioamide isosteres into previously uncharted peptide sequence space.
Many physiological processes are governed by small reactive species, anions and cations. As such, many pathologies are also marked by substantial deviations in the concentration and distribution of these species. Molecular probes have proven invaluable tools at deciphering the roles of biologically-relevant species, both in vitro and in vivo. Nonetheless, despite advances in molecular imaging, many small cations, anions and reactive species remain difficult to image selectively under conditions relevant to physiological processes.