Professor Jayawickramarajah Group

For More Information

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

March 2014

  • Hong Zhang with Mengyuan Zhu published in Chemical Communications on water soluble porphyrin nanospheres.

August 10-14, 2014

  • JJ co-organizes symposium on Stimuli-Responsive Supramolecular, Macromolecular and Nanostructural Systems and Biopolymer-Driven Organization of Nanostructures

February 28, 2014

May 2014

  • Mark Gorelik joins the group

June 2014

  • Group starts setting up joint lab space at the Tulane Vector Borne-Infectious Diseases Center in the JBJ building downtown.

News 2013

News 2012

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