Term of Award

Spring 2024

Degree Name

Master of Science, Applied Physical Science

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (restricted to Georgia Southern)

Copyright Statement / License for Reuse

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.


Department of Chemistry

Committee Chair

Karelle Aiken

Committee Member 1

Jannet Kocerha

Committee Member 2

Mark Vincent dela Cerna


This structure-activity relationship (SAR) study investigates a 1,4-naphthoquinone-tyrosine assembly designed as a potential anticancer therapeutic to exploit the overexpression of the L-type amino acid transporter 1 (LAT1) in cancer cells. The long-term goal of this work is to address issues that can and often arise in cancer treatment due to cellular defense mechanisms, poor selectivity for cancer cells over healthy cells, and challenges with drug uptake. This ongoing project has two main objectives: (1) design and synthesis of 1,4-naphthoquinone derivatives and (2) biochemical characterization of the synthesized compounds in cancer cell lines. Studies involved commercially available scaffolds and synthesized 1,4 naphthoquinone derivatives, some of which are new to the literature. The derivatives, including the tyrosine-naphthoquinone assembly, were made from 2-bromo-1,4-naphthoquinone with yields ranging from 25%-75%. The tyrosine backbone, a substrate for LAT1, was selected because previous reports indicate the ability to enhance uptake using drug-LAT1 substrate assemblies. SAR investigations probed the relationship between structure and cytotoxicity in A549 (lung cancer), a cell line in which LAT1 is highly expressed. MTS assays, compound light microscopy, and confocal microscopy were used to determine the cytotoxic and morphological effects of the compounds. Results, thus far, are promising as the naphthoquinone-tyrosine assembly exhibited cytotoxic activity with A549 cells.

Research Data and Supplementary Material


Available for download on Wednesday, April 18, 2029