The Synthesis of Unnatural Amino Acids

Faculty Sponsor

Dr. Thomas Goyne


Arts and Sciences



ORCID Identifier(s)


Document Type

Poster Presentation

Symposium Date

Summer 7-30-2018


The long-term goal of this project is to chemically synthesize an unnatural fluorescent amino acid (UFAA) that can later be used to build glow-in-the-dark proteins. UFAAs allow investigators to visualize a single protein in an otherwise transparent living cell. The specific UFAA target for this project is L-alanine, 3-[7-nitro-2,1,3-benzoxadiazol-4-yl], which is an analog of the natural amino acid tryptophan. This synthesis consists of a coupling reaction followed by a deprotection reaction. Products have been characterized using 1H and 13C NMR, and Liquid Chromatography Spectrometry (LC-MS). Future tasks could include optimizing the yield and purity of this UFAA.

Biographical Information about Author(s)

Madeline Johnson is a senior Chemistry major/ Biology minor from Valparaiso, Indiana, who intends on attending graduate school and starting a career in research with the goal of becoming a professor.

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