Structure of Biopolymers

We are interested in how biopolymers in native tissues are synthesized and remodeled for a variety of medical and industrial applications. Specific examples include the synthesis of the three-dimensional radial glucan architecture in starch granules, the structure/function relationship between photosynthetic antenna and photoprotection, the biodegradation of cellulose, and the underlying changes in structure occurring during tumor development in animal tissue.

(Image from Laboratory of V. Barzda, University of Toronto)

Novel Labels for Nonlinear Optical Microscopy

Harmonic generation microscopy is a valuable technique used for imaging biological structures. Enhanced structural specificity can be achieved by synthesizing targeted molecular labels or nanoparticles that demonstrate large second-order or third-order optical suceptibilities, designated as harmonophores. We are particularly interested in exploring  biocompatible harmonophores for in vivo biological imaging.

(Image from Laboratory of V. Barzda, University of Toronto)

Ultrastructure of Nanomaterials

We have interest and expertise in the dynamic ultrastructure and nonlinear optical properties of novel artificial nanomaterials including tissue scaffolds such as collagen gels, nanomaterials such as nanowires, nanotubes and nanoribbons, as well as liquid crystals, protein and molecular aggregates, dendrimers, quantum dots,  liposomes, and micelles.

Systems Development

We are interested in developing new nonlinear optical spectroscopy and microscopy techniques towards hyper video-rate ultrastructural characterization of biological and artificial materials during synthesis, degradation and function. We are also interested in developing systems to measure the wavelength resolved nonlinear optical properties of molecules and nanomaterials.

Advances in Undergraduate Teaching

We are developing new laboratory experiments for an advanced undergraduate chemistry course entitled, Instrumental Analysis for Materials Chemistry. These new experiments include students developing their own instrumental devices for studying various materials.

Funding Support: