Our Research

Our ongoing research projects include (1) development of boron(B)–nitrogen(N)-containing heterocycles and (2) development and application of of photolabile protecting groups (PPGs) in the synthesis of hydroxamic acids, light-responsive smart materials, and controlled release of biologically important compounds.

The Saint-Louis Research Group specializes in the discovery and characterization of new Fluorescent Organic Materials. We are particularly interested in the development of boron(B)–nitrogen(N)-containing heterocycles, specifically pyrrolidinone-fused 1,2-azaborines (PFAs). These PFAs result from the replacement of one of the carbon(C)–carbon(C) bonds from a polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) with a three-coordinate boron center bonded to a nitrogen. The B–N bond preserves the π-conjugation, is stabilized by the aromaticity across the PFA and rigidifies the core. We aim to use the isoelectronic relation of the B–N and C=C bonds to investigate the photophysical properties as arene substitutes in materials and biomedical research. The insertion of a B–N bond into PAHs is a promising method to synthesize materials for potential use in organic electroluminescent devices, optoelectronic applications and for highly selective molecular indicator/sensing probes. Our areas of exploration include organic synthesis, optoelectronic materials, sensors for metal ions and fluorescent pH indicators.

We are also pursuing the development of a new class of o-nitrobenzyl (o-NBphotolabile protective groups (PPGs). Protecting groups (PGs) are indispensable tools in organic chemistry. However, as scientists start utilizing lengthy synthetic routes and the number of functional groups that need PGs increase within a molecule, it becomes challenging to remove a PG individually and selectively when needed. Conditions such as acidic, basic, reductive, and oxidative conditions are generally used during the removal of conventional PGs, potentially degrading the protected molecule. The Saint-Louis Research Group is focusing on developing a more attractive synthetic approach to overcome the challenges associated with the synthesis and purification of compounds that requires less harsh conditions by developing a new class of o-NBPPGs that absorbs light in the visible region of the optical spectrum.

Keywords – Organic Chemistry, Photochemistry, Fluorescent Organic Materials, Synthetic Methodology, Photoresponsive Materials, azaborines, Biological Sensors, Photolabile Protecting Groups, and Synthesis of Hydroxamic Acids.