faculty - Bowling Green State University

Center members include BGSU faculty from the Departments of Chemistry, Physics and
Astronomy, and Biological Sciences. Its unifying intellectual theme focuses on the study of the
interaction of light with physical, chemical, and biological systems, and on the quest for practical
applications of that basic knowledge, which stimulate new technology. Faculty in the Center for
Photochemical Sciences strive to expand the synergy of research, teaching, and applications in
the photochemical sciences.
Pavel Anzenbacher, Jr.
Associate Professor of Chemistry
Ph.D., Czech Academy of Science (Prague), 1996
The design and synthesis of novel dyes and pigments, electroluminescent materials for organic
light-emitting diode (OLED) applications as well as supramolecular aspects of molecular sensing
is the focus of our research group. Our primary interest is in nanotechnology as it is applied to
molecular sensing with particular attention being devoted to the sensing of anionic analytes. We
are also interested in the design aspects of electroluminophores with tunable light output aimed
at application in flat-panel displays.
E-mail: pavel@bgsu.edu
Phone: 419-372-2080
George S. Bullerjahn
Professor of Biological Sciences
Ph.D., University of Virginia, 1984
Our work is currently focused on the regulation of nutrient-stress-inducible genes in
cyanobacteria. We have identified genes and gene products inducible under nutrient (N, S, P)
limitation and stationary phase conditions, and this work may help define universal rules in the
adaptation of bacteria to changing and extreme environments.
Additionally, we are working on understanding the structure and dynamics of photosynthetic
complexes in the chl a/b containing prokaryote Prochlorothrix. Such work will help in the
understanding of how phototrophs can colonize low light habitats.
E-mail: bullerj@bgsu.edu
Phone: 419-372-8527
John R. Cable
Chair and Associate Professor of Chemistry
Ph.D., Cornell University, 1986
Our work currently focuses on determining the structures of conformationally flexible molecules
and the effect that solvation and hydrogen bonding has on these structures using vibrationally
resolved electronic spectroscopy in the ultracold environment of a supersonic jet expansion.
Electronic spectroscopy permits structural information to be obtained on both ground and
excited electronic states through analysis of the resolved vibrational structure that appears
under these conditions. We are currently investigating a number of phenyl-substituted amines
and amides. These types of molecules form strong hydrogen bonds with a variety of partners,
including water, and have the potential to act as both donors and acceptors. By studying
hydrogen bonded clusters at high spectral resolution, it is possible to determine the mode of
binding between the solute and solvent as well as to characterize the structural perturbations
that arise from the strong interaction.
E-mail: cable@bgsu.edu
Phone: 419-372-8439
Felix N. Castellano
Professor of Chemistry
Ph.D., Johns Hopkins University, 1996
Our current research focus involves the photochemistry and photophysics of metal-organic
chromophores, where the proper combination of metal complex and organic subunit(s) yield
new luminescent molecules or assemblies with distinct properties and potentially useful
functions. Most of the chromophores of interest are centered around copper(I), platinum(II),
ruthenium(II), and osmium(II) coordination and organometallic complexes. From the
fundamental perspective, we are interested in the interplay of closely-lying excited states and
the influence these interactions have on the resulting photophysics. These processes are
investigated with a battery of static and time-resolved spectroscopic techniques, the latter
revealing excited state dynamics evolving from the femtosecond regime to milliseconds. We
have recently developed photochemical schemes, which result in low power photon
upconversion; wavelength shifting incident light to higher energy. This approach also provides a
means to access traditional ultraviolet-driven photochemical reactions using visible photons. We
are intensively investigating a variety of alternative energy-relevant projects including next
generation photovoltaic materials, photocatalytic solar fuels production, and water splitting
photochemistry. Photoinduced electron transfer at the molecule/semiconductor interface
represents an important facet of these inquiries. A more recent endeavor features molecular
structures possessing intimate d8-d8 metal-metal interactions for in-depth studies of
intramolecular excited state bond formation in addition to photo-initiated electron and energy
transfer chemistry.
E-mail: castell@bgsu.edu
Phone: 419-372-7513
Ksenija D. Glusac
Assistant Professor of Chemistry
Ph.D., University of Florida, 2003
Our main research focus is to study how natural flavins catalyze redox reactions and to use this
acquired knowledge towards the development of efficient artificial catalysts. With a goal of
understanding natural mechanisms of chemicallight energy conversion, we chose to study
two flavoproteins: one that uses the Sun’s energy to drive a chemical reaction (DNA photolyase),
and another that converts the energy of a chemical reaction to blue photons (bacterial
luciferase). Inspired by the catalytic oxygen reduction in bacterial luciferases, we engineered an
artificial, flavin-based system that catalyzes the reversal reaction: water oxidation to produce
molecular oxygen. Our flavin-based compound is the first example of a fully organic compound
that performs catalytic oxygen evolution. This process of catalytic water oxidation is essential for
utilization of the Sun’s energy by means of solar fuel cells, and we expect the scientific
community to be very interested in our findings.
E-mail: kglusac@bgsu.edu
Phone: 419-372-3229
Jeremy K. Klosterman, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Chemistry
Ph.D., Universität Zürich (Switzerland), 2007
In the last fifty years, significant advances in materials science formed the foundation of modern
electronics and enabled new possibilities in energy storage and environmentally friendly
technologies. Crystal engineering, a recent branch of supramolecular chemistry with increasing
significance, has helped shed light on the roles of intermolecular interactions in supramolecular
solid-state structures. More recently, metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) combined organic and
inorganic subunits to fashion robust, well-defined three-dimensional frameworks and provide
easy access to the domain of solid state chemistry where specific intermolecular interactions
can engender bulk, material properties. However, much remains unknown about the
relationships between the molecular structure and the resultant material properties and, as a
result, the search for new, functional materials too often relies on serendipitous discovery.
The primary goal of our research is the design and synthesis of functional supramolecular
architectures. This necessitates a thorough understanding of the relationships between the
molecular structure, the supramolecular architecture, and the material properties. We are
currently focusing on the following areas:
The development of a modular approach to control fluorophore aggregation and
orientation in the solid state in order to enhance solid-state emissive properties.
The application of emissive organic solids towards new practical chemosensors.
The combination of multiple intermolecular interactions to enable the molecular
realization of mechanically linked, topologically complex structures.
E-mail: jkloster@bgsu.edu
Phone: 419-372-9450
Neocles B. Leontis
Professor of Chemistry
Ph.D., Yale University, 1986
Nucleic acids (DNA and RNA) play diverse roles in living organisms. Not only do they encode
genetic information but they actively participate in its readout from transcription to translation,
including splicing, editing, and regulation at each stage. Single-stranded DNA and RNA molecules
fold into complex 3-dimensional structures to carry out these roles. We are investigating the
logic of the 3D architecture of these molecules using an integrated biophysical, biochemical, and
bioinformatic approach. These complex structures are able to specifically bind other molecules,
including potential drug molecules. Photosensitizers that can specifically bind DNA or RNA
molecules have tremendous potential for overcoming present limitations of photodynamic
therapy, by directing damage to molecules specific to the target cells. We are investigating the
binding of potent photosensitizers to complex nucleic acids using biophysical and biochemical
E-mail: leontis@bgsu.edu
Phone: 419-372-8663
H. Peter Lu
Ohio Eminent Scholar in Photochemical Sciences
Professor of Chemistry
Ph.D., Columbia University, 1991
Our research is focused on the use of single molecule techniques to understand molecular
dynamic processes and the effects of the local environment on these processes. We have been
developing and applying time-resolved, nanoscale site-specific, single molecule methods that
are an effective alternative to conventional methods, providing information under conditions
most applicable to the natural processes underlying the area of research interest. Singlemolecule approaches are useful and unique in studying heterogeneous and complex systems
because the inhomogeneity can be identified and/or removed by studying one molecule at a
time. Single molecules and molecular complexes can be observed as they traverse a wide range
of energy states in real-time and the effect of this ever changing "system configuration" on
chemical/biological reactions and other dynamical processes can be mapped.
Our current research work has been focused on (1) conformational dynamics and reaction in
proteins and protein complexes under physiological conditions, and our long-term goal is to
study single-molecule protein conformational dynamics and reactions in living cells; and (2)
inhomogeneous interfacial chemical and biological reaction dynamics in solar energy
conversion, bioremediation, and environmental systems, focusing on fundamental
understanding of the controlling physical and chemical properties, such as, Franck-Condon
coupling and barrier, vibrational and solvent relaxation energetics, molecular distributions,
redox states identification, and molecular motions.
E-mail: hplu@bgsu.edu
Phone: 419-372-1840
Michael Y. Ogawa
Professor of Chemistry
Ph.D., Northwestern University, 1987
Our group is developing a new class of hybrid inorganic/biological materials possessing novel
photochemical properties. In one project we are using the principles of “metalloprotein design”
to prepare a new class of miniature metalloproteins containing luminescent Cu(I) centers. The
photophysical properties of these systems have been found to mimic many features found in
natural photosynthetic reaction centers and can be used to develop new routes toward solar
energy conversion. A related project uses supramolecular coordination chemistry to direct the
assembly of novel peptide structures. We have found that such metal-mediated peptide
assemblies possess a diverse range of morphologies ranging from nanometer-scale hollow
spheres to nano-cylinders, making them possible candidates for drug delivery vehicles. Thus, a
central theme of our laboratory is to combine inorganic coordination chemistry/photochemistry
with protein design in order to prepare new types of hybrid materials, which possess potentially
useful chemical properties.
E-mail: mogawa@bgsu.edu
Phone: 419-372-9231
Massimo Olivucci
Research Professor of Chemistry
Laboratory for Computational Photochemistry
Ph.D., University of Bologna (Italy), 1988
We use conventional and novel computational tools to investigate the reactivity of organic and
biological molecules in their electronically excited states. One major target of our work is the
mapping of the photon-induced "force field" which sets an equilibrium molecular structure into
motion in realistic molecular environments (e.g., in solution or in a protein cavity). We also
investigate the reactive motion itself up to time scales beyond 10-12 seconds. This force field
can be calculated and represented in terms of photochemical reaction paths: i.e., paths that
start on an excited state potential energy surface and end on the ground state energy surface.
Photochemical reaction paths comprise mechanistic elements that are not involved in the
description of thermal reactions. These correspond to real crossings of different potential
energy surfaces. For photochemical reactions prompted by direct irradiation these crossings
often correspond to conical intersections that are regarded as the photochemical analogues of
transition states. Given the central role of photochemical reaction paths, excited state
trajectories and conical intersections (as well as singlet/triplet surface crossings) in the
investigation of the excited state reactivity of proteins (e.g., biological photoreceptors) or
solvated molecules (e.g., dyes in solution), we also develop computational strategies based on a
combination of ab-initio quantum chemical methods and molecular mechanics methods that
allow to study the effects of light irradiation on complex molecular systems.
E-mail: molivuc@bgsu.edu
Phone: 419-372-7606
Alexander N. Tarnovsky
Assistant Professor of Chemistry
Ph.D., S. I. Vavilov State Optical Institute, St. Petersburg (Russia), 1993
The focus of our research interests is two-fold:
Developing a molecular-level understanding of the dynamics of chemical reactions
occurring in solution, and;
Gaining a deep, detailed insight into the dynamics and mechanisms of ultrafast (femtoand picosecond) photoinduced processes.
Our primary interest is “real time” investigation of ultrafast excited-state dynamics, bond
rupture, and rearrangement of liquid-phase small polyatomic molecules, with most attention
currently centered on polyhalogenated alkanes and transition metal complexes. The knowledge
of the interplay between the initially populated Franck-Condon region, adiabatic/non-adiabatic
excited-state dynamics, energy flow and solute-solvent interactions, is of central importance for
achieving control over the photoreaction path. In our research, we use state-of-the-art
experimental methods of ultrafast time-resolved spectroscopy, primarily deep-UV-throughnear-IR pump/probe and laser pump/x-ray absorption probe.
E-mail: atarnov@bgsu.edu
Phone: 419-372-3865
Andrew T. Torelli, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Chemistry
University of Rochester, 2008
Research in the Torelli lab is broadly interested in the structural and chemical basis for enzyme
function. The current focus is on enzymes that biosynthesize iron-sulfur (Fe-S) clusters (which
are essential protein cofactors involved in a wide range of enzyme functions including electron
transfer (e.g. respiration, photosynthesis), environmental sensing (e.g. redox homeostasis, iron
deprivation), structural stabilization of protein folds and chemical catalysis (e.g. as Lewis Acids).
While the earliest enzymes probably assimilated Fe-S clusters that formed spontaneously in the
environment, the evolution of photosynthesis and subsequent oxygenation of the atmosphere
depleted available environmental sources of ferrous iron ions through oxidation to insoluble
ferric iron species. As a consequence, pathways emerged to biosynthesize and deliver Fe-S
clusters to enzymes requiring them for their function. Research in the Torelli lab is focused on
several aspects of Fe-S biosynthesis.
First, we are interested in fundamental questions
regarding how Fe-S clusters are formed by the biosynthetic machinery. For example, how are
the toxic ferrous iron and sulfide ions combined to form nascent clusters? What electronic and
structural modifications are required to form different Fe-S cluster species? How does a single
biosynthetic pathway load Fe-S clusters into the diverse array of cellular proteins that require
their function? Second, one biosynthetic pathway in particular is highly upregulated during
oxidative stress and iron starvation. How are the properties of the Fe-S clusters modulated
during formation by this pathway to resist deleterious conditions? What specific protein:cluster
interactions are required for biosynthesis during oxidative stress? Why haven’t other Fe-S
biosynthetic pathways evolved similarly robust function that is less sensitive to adverse
Third, Fe-S clusters have chemical versatility and are natural chromophores. We
are looking into novel applications of Fe-S proteins in areas of energy conversion and
Techniques employed in the Torelli lab include a variety of biophysical
methods, especially X-ray crystallography. Other primary methods include electrochemical and
spectroscopic analyses that are being performed in collaborations. Biophysical characterization
(e.g. dynamic light scattering, size exclusion chromatography, ultracentrifugation) is also a focus,
as well as standard molecular biology and microbiology methods used for bacterial
overexpression and growth fitness trials.
E-mail: torelli@bgsu.edu
Phone: 419-372-8744
R. Marshall Wilson
Research Professor of Chemistry
Ph.D., Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1965
Our research interests are directed towards the development of reagents for the photochemical
analysis and manipulation of biological systems. These include:
The development of new reagents for the photochemical cross-linking of nucleic acids,
primarily RNA, with proteins.
The development of new reagents for the photochemical cleavage of nucleic acids,
primarily RNA.
The development of the aforementioned two techniques to study the interactions
between nucleic acids and proteins using mass spectrometry to obtain detailed
structural information about the nature of these interactions.
E-mail: rmw@bgsu.eu
Phone: 419-372-2035
Zhaohui Xu
Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences
Ph.D., Huazhong Agricultural University (Wuhan, China), 2000
Our current focus is the genetics and applications of hyperthermophilic bacteria that can
convert agricultural or industrial wastes to bioenergy products and/or green chemicals.
Molecular biological, biochemical, and bioinformatical methods are being used to investigate
the genetics and physiology of these bacteria. Genetic engineering approaches are developed to
customize these species to our specific needs. We are also interested in understanding the
biological functions of the photoreceptor Anabaena sensory rhodopsin and its transducer
E-Mail: zxu@bgsu.edu
Phone: 419-372-4645
Weidong Yang
Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences
Ph.D., Fudan University (Shanghai, China), 2002
We are interested in exploring the molecular mechanisms in cells by using single molecule
methods and nanotechnology. Currently, we focus on three projects: (1) to unravel the nuclear
transport mechanism; (2) to investigate the nuclear envelope disassembly mechanism and (3) to
apply the quantum dots (QDs) as bio-probes in the biological systems. Our long-term goal is to
set up an advanced biophysical research program, which includes four subdivisions: singlemolecule microscopy imaging, cell biology, spectroscopy and nano-bio-probes. The individual
subdivisions can be developed independently or be combined to study challenging research
projects if necessary.
E-mail: wyang@bgsu.edu
Phone: 419-372-8007
Mikhail Zamkov
Assistant Professor of Physics
Ph.D., Kansas State University, 2003
Our research focuses on the electronic, chemical and optical properties of semiconductor
nanostructures (quantum dots) and hybrid nanoscale materials prepared by means of colloidal
syntheses. Such nanoparticles can be chemically manipulated like large molecules and can be
coupled to each other or can be incorporated into different types of inorganic or organic
matrices. Specifically, experimental work in our group addresses four major areas: (1) synthesis
and characterization of novel nanoscale materials, (2) elucidation of their fundamental
optoelectronic properties, (3) design and demonstration of functional nanoscale devices and
integrated nanosystems, and (4) exploration of the interface/communication between biological
systems and nanoscale devices. This research is highly interdisciplinary, involving concepts and
techniques from biology, chemistry, physics and the engineering sciences to achieve our goals.
E-Mail: zamkovm@bgsu.edu
Phone: 419-372-0264
For more information about any of the above research, please contact:
Center for Photochemical Sciences
Bowling Green State University
Bowling Green, OH 43403 U.S.A.
Phone: 419-372-2033
Fax: 419-372-0366