Honors College Theses

Publication Date



Biochemistry (B.S.)

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (open access)

Faculty Mentor

Nathaniel Shank


Peptide nucleic acids (PNAs) are oligonucleotide analogues in which the sugar-phosphate backbone has been replaced by a pseudopeptide skeleton. Since PNAs use the natural nucleobases (Adenine, Thymine, Cytosine, Uracil, and Guanine) found in either DNA and/or RNA, they are able to hybridize according to Watson-Crick base-pairing to form duplexes. PNA is a promising therapeutic agent because they can function as antigene or antisense chemical agents. To further enhance their utility, we aim to incorporate a photoswitchable moiety using azobenzene. Here, we report the results of the synthesis and purification of a photoswitchable 11 mer PNA along with initial characterization efforts.