Synthesis and Characterization of an Unnatural Fluorescent Amino Acid

Faculty Sponsor

Thomas Goyne


Arts and Sciences



Presentation Type

Poster Presentation

Symposium Date

Spring 5-2-2015


The goal of this project is to chemically synthesize a fluorescent amino acid that will later be used to build a protein that glows in the dark. Glow-in-the-dark proteins are of great value to biologists because fluorescent microscopy can then be used to observe the proten’s spatial and temporal location within a living cell. The specific objective of this project is to synthesize a 4-(N,N-dimethylamino) phthalimide-based environment-sensitive fluorescent amino acid. This will be accomplished by synthesizing two separate building blocks, 4-N,N-dimethylaminophthalic anhydride and allyl N-α-Fmoc-N-β-L-diaminopropionate, coupling them together and finally removing a protecting group. Standard spectroscopy methods (nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) and mass spectroscopy (MS)) will be used to characterize the synthetic intermediates and the final product. As soon as this fluorescent amino acid is in hand, we will use a screening system to determine whether or not it can serve as a building block for proteins.

Biographical Information about Author(s)

Yeongseo An was born on April 3, 1995 in Gwangyang, South Korea. She came to the United States as an international student during her sophomore year of high school. She graduated from Illiana Christian High School in Lansing, Illinois, in 2013, with high honors. She started her undergraduate career at Valparaiso University in the fall of 2013. She is hoping to achieve her B.S. in Biochemistry and enroll in a pharmacy school.

Blagojce (Bill) Trimoski was born on May 23, 1995 in Ohrid, Macedonia. He moved to Crown Point, Indiana when he was about 2.5 years old and grew up there. He graduated from Crown Point High School in 2013 with high honors. He started his undergraduate career at Valparaiso University in the fall of 2013 in pursuit of a B.S. in Biochemistry. He hopes to attend medical school immediately afterwards to obtain his M.D./Ph.D.

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