Abstract: Fluorescent Rhodamine pH Probes

Hi everyone!

My name is Mona Rasooly and I am a rising junior. I have just recently joined Dr. Harbron’s chemistry research lab this spring semester, where I am working on rhodamine fluorescent pH probes. Fluorescence-based pH sensors are extremely useful in biological applications due to their high sensitivity and selective properties. Rhodamine spirolactams fluoresce in acidic environments due to a ring-opening reaction that changes the rhodamine molecule to a bright pink, fluorescent molecule. Rhodamines normally fluoresce in conditions that are too acidic to be applicable in cellular systems. Our goal is to change the pKa by attaching substituents of different sizes and electronic properties and determine how size and electronics impacts the pKa. In doing so, we can create an equation that will allow us to choose a specific pH and synthesize a rhodamine derivative for that pH.

I am very excited to have this full time research opportunity! This summer, I hope to gain a deeper understanding of my project and improve my laboratory/research skills. I look forward to sharing my progress with you!