Professor Jayawickramarajah Group

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Photo courtesy of Chevalier

Group Research Interest

Exquisitely controlled self-assembly in water is a key modality used by Nature to build highly functional biological systems. Research in the Jayawickramarajah group involves a highly interdisciplinary effort to develop bio-inspired functional molecules capable of undergoing specific molecular recognition events. A main thrust of our research is to study water compatible, self-assembling, synthetically functionalized oligomers that address contemporary problems.  We are currently focused on the following two research areas.


  • Development of Stimuli Responsive Protein-Binders Based on DNA-Small Molecule Chimeras. This project focuses on the development of DNA-small molecule chimeras that are programmed to bind and inhibit salient protein targets only upon non-covalent activation by specific endogenous or externally introduced trigger molecules. The development of general mechanisms for the non-covalent transformation of inactive protein inhibitors into activated compounds in the presence of specific endogenous (or externally added) stimuli is envisioned to contribute to prodrug development.
  • Development of Well-Defined Porphyrin Arrays in Water: Towards Photonic Nanostructures. This project concerns the development of photonic nanowires composed of self-assembled multi-porphyrins in water. In these assemblies, the individual chromophores are non p-aggregated and are placed, via molecular recognition, at well-defined positions. The generation of self-assembled multi-porphyrin containing photonic nanostructures in water is envisioned to have potential applications as synthetic light harvesting antennae, catalyst arrays, and chemo-responsive sensing materials.

As a result of our prepare-and-analyze philosophy, students in the laboratory will be versed in synthetic organic chemistry and chemical biology, as well as being proficient in a whole host of spectroscopic, microscopic, and analytical techniques.

Current News

May 2012

  • JJ receives a grant (R01) from the National Institutes of Health  to develop molecular recognition triggered protein-inhibitors that are activated by endogenous/overexpressed microRNA.
  • Professor Jayawickramarajah has been promoted to full Program Member status at the Tulane Cancer Center.

April 2012

  • Graduate student Xiao Zhou joins group

March 2012

  •  Congratulations to undergraduate researcher Richard Tang who won the “Best Undergraduate Oral Presentation” at the 86th annual meeting of the Louisiana Academy of Sciences
  •  Cooper’s review article on supramolecular approaches to inhibit protein-protein interactions is published in “Supramolecular Chemistry: From Molecules to Nanomaterials”.

January 2012

  • Dr. Gyan Aryal (PhD from the University of Nevada, Reno) joins the group as a post-doc

News 2011

News 2010

News 2009

News 2008

News 2007

School of Science and Engineering, 201 Lindy Boggs Center, New Orleans, LA 70118 504-865-5764