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College of Arts & Sciences

Jessica K. White

Jessica White in her office

Assistant Professor

Chemistry & Biochemistry
Clippinger 379

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Ph.D., Virginia Tech

B.S., University of Dayton


  • Inorganic Chemistry, Photochemistry, Bioinorganic Chemistry

My research interests are rooted in the photophysics and photochemistry of transition metal complexes with applications in photodynamic therapy (PDT) and photochemotherapy (PCT). Both PDT and PCT provide less invasive and more localized treatment of diseases such as cancer and bacterial infections. Projects in my lab focus on the design, synthesis, and analysis of new multifunctional metal complexes (Ru, Mn, Rh, Pt) that absorb visible light and undergo excited state reactions to release or activate more than one potentially therapeutic molecule, such as carbon monoxide, reactive oxygen species, and/or a DNA-binding agent.

Students in my group will become proficient in the synthesis of novel transition metal complexes, analytical techniques such as steady-state and time-resolved electronic absorption and emission spectroscopies, electrochemistry, IR spectroscopy, and NMR spectroscopy, as well as photochemical and biological assays.

Selected Publications

“An overview of photosubstitution reactions of Ru(II) imine complexes and their application in photobiology and photodynamic therapy.” J. K. White, R. H. Schmehl, C. Turro. Inorganica Chimica Acta 2017, 454, 7-20.

“Caging the uncageable: using metal complex release for photochemical control over irreversible inhibition.” M. Huisman, J. K. White, V. G. Lewalski, I. Podgorski, C. Turro, J. J. Kodanko. Chemical Communications 2016, 52 (85), 12590-12593.

“New Ru(II) complex for dual activity: Photoinduced ligand release and 1O2 production.” L. M. Loftus, J. K. White, B. A. Albani, L. Kohler, J. J. Kodanko, R. P. Thummel, K. R. Dunbar, C. Turro, Chemistry – A European Journal 2016, 22 (11), 3704-3708.

“A new Ru,Ru,Pt supramolecular architecture for photocatalytic H2 production.” J. K. White, K. J. Brewer, Chemical Communications 2015, 51 (89), 16123-16126.

“New Ru(II) complexes for dual photoreactivity: ligand exchange and 1O2 generation.” J. D. Knoll, B. A. Albani, C. Turro,Accounts of Chemical Research 2015, 48 (8), 2280-2287.

“Excited state investigation of a new Ru(II) complex for dual reactivity with low energy light.” J. D. Knoll, B. A. Albani, C. Turro, Chemical Communications 2015, 51, 8777-8780.

“Control and utilization of ruthenium and rhodium metal complex excited states for photoactivated cancer therapy.” J. D. Knoll, C. Turro, Coordination Chemistry Reviews 2015, 282-283, 110-126.

“A new paradigm for photodynamic therapy drug design: multifunctional, supramolecular DNA photomodification agents featuring Ru(II)/Os(II) light absorbers coupled to Pt(II) or Rh(III) bioactive sites.” J. D. Knoll, K. J. Brewer, Progress in Inorganic Chemistry2014, 59, 189-244.

“Electrochemical, spectroscopic, and photophysical properties of structurally diverse polyazine-bridged Ru(II),Pt(II) and Os(II),Ru(II),Pt(II) supramolecular motifs.” J. D. Knoll, S. M. Arachchige, G. Wang, K. Rangan, R. Miao, S. L. H. Higgins, B. Okyere, M. Zhao, P. Croasdale, K. Magruder, B. Sinclair, C. Wall, K. J. Brewer, Inorganic Chemistry 2011, 50 (18), 8850-8860.

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