Synthesis and Characterization of a 4-(N,N-dimethylamino) Phthalimide-Substituted Amino Acid, a Polarity-Sensitive Fluorophore

Primary Submission Contact

Stephen Sekoulopoulos

Faculty Sponsor

Thomas Goyne

Faculty Sponsor Email Address



Arts and Sciences


Department of Chemistry

Document Type

Poster Presentation


Fall 10-28-2016


The goal of this project is to chemically synthesize a fluorescent amino acid that will later be used as a glow-in-the-dark building block for proteins. The resulting glow-in-the-dark proteins are of great value to biologists because fluorescent microscopy can then be used to observe the protein’s spatial and temporal location within a living cell. The specific objective of this project is to synthesize the phthalimide-based environment-sensitive fluorescent amino acid shown in the equation below. We have synthesized and coupled the two building blocks and have characterized the coupled product by liquid chromatography mass spectroscopy (LC-MS), 1H and 13C nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy. The remaining task is to remove the two protecting groups.

Biographical Information about Author(s)

Stephen Sekoulopoulos is a junior Biochemistry major and is also a member of Christ College, which is the honors college at Valparaiso University. This is his second year doing research at Valparaiso, where he spent his first year working with the physics department. After his undergraduate studies, Stephen plans to attend medical school where he plans to specialize in pediatric neurosurgery.

Additional Presentation Information

Tabletop Poster

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