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Photodynamic Therapy (PDT) is a treatment method for a variety of ailments, including different cancers. It involves light activation of a molecule (photosensitizer) which then reacts with molecular oxygen to destroy tumor cells. Porphyrins are commonly used as photosensitizers due to their light absorption properties and their ability to concentrate in tumor cells but not healthy cells. Unfortunately, porphyrins suffer from poor excitation when irradiated with visible light in the photodynamic therapy window (600-800nm). The photodynamic window is optimal due to the depth of penetration the light reaches and the lack of absorption from naturally occurring compounds in the body. This project involves the synthesis and characterization of a new type of photosensitizer with the goal of creating new molecules that are activated by low energy light.

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Honors Thesis

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Shawn Swavey

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Stander Symposium poster


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Photoreactions of a Water Soluble Poly-Isoquinolpyrrole with Plasmid DNA