Honors College Theses

Publication Date



Biochemistry (B.S.)

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (open access)

Faculty Mentor

Dr. Michele McGibony


After its discovery back in the 1900s, photosensitizers became a critical study for potential treatments and cures for medical issues, including cancer. It was discovered that porphyrins appeared to target and accumulate in proliferating cells, and to reach the cells, a certain wavelength of light with maximum absorbance associated with the porphyrin was necessary to achieve cell death. Photodynamic therapy involves making use of porphyrins or metalloporphyrins as activators when exposed to such light. When activated, these compounds generate reactive oxygen species (ROS), such as HO- or O2-, which can react with nucleic acids found in DNA and RNA. In the aim to find novel photosensitizer compounds, two primary synthesized meso-substituted porphyrins, Cu(II) meso-Tetra(4-sulfonatophenyl) porphine (acid form), abbreviated as C975 and meso-Tetra(4-sulfonatophenyl)porphine dihydrochloride 5,10,15,20-Tetrakis(4-sulfonatophenyl)-21H,23H-porphine dihydrochloride, referred to as TI239, as well as the compound curcumin will be tested against the two DNA plasmids, pBR322 and pUC19, to determine the extent of DNA cleavage from white light and laser exposure via agarose gel electrophoresis. Results of these studies will be presented and comparisons made against current photosensitizers.