News & Events

Dr. Mindy Levine

Posted on March 6, 2015


Date - March 6, 2015
1:00 pm - 2:00 pm


Assistant Professor
Department of Chemistry, University of Rhode Island

“Macrocycle Interactions: From Fundamental Science to Application Performance”


The complex interactions between molecules that are not covalently linked but are in close proximity remain poorly understood. These non-binding interactions are both ubiquitous and essential for life: for example, in biology, they determine how proteins fold into three-dimensional conformations and how DNA is replicated to form new cells; and in the environment, they determine how the residue from oil spills disperses into the ecosystem. Research in our group focuses on investigating these non-binding interactions using highly efficient fluorescence energy transfer as a crucial investigative tool. This energy transfer requires that the donor and acceptor molecules be in close proximity, which we ensure through binding them in the interior of a macrocycle. Energy transfer provides an extraordinarily powerful means of investigating non-binding interactions between molecules because it is so strongly dependent on numerous complex factors, and so highly sensitive to even small changes in the molecular structure. Applications of this energy transfer in the array-based detection of small molecule carcinogens and in the detection and environmental remediation of oil spills will also be discussed.