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Controlling biological function with light

PhD ceremony:Mr M.J. (Mickel) Hansen
When:December 14, 2018
Supervisors:prof. dr. B.L. (Ben L.) Feringa, prof. dr. A.J.M. (Arnold J M) Driessen
Where:Academy building RUG
Faculty:Science and Engineering
Controlling biological function with light

In this thesis, the control of biological function with light has been described. Incorporation of molecular photoswitches in known drugs allows the light control over the activity of the derivatized drugs. The research mainly focused on the development of molecular photoswitches which can be activated with visible (preferably red) light. Towards this goal, synthetic methodology has been developed to synthesize these novel photoswitches in the lab. Next, we aimed at the incorporation of such photoswitches and photoremovable protecting groups in known antibiotics and anti-tumor drugs to alter their activity with light. In this way, known antibiotics have been derivatized with a photo switch to allow the control of their activity with red and green light. Furthermore, for example, we developed a photoactivatable anti-tumor drug by attachment of a photoremovable protecting to a known chemotherapeutic. Only irradiation led to the activation of the drug which allows a spatial and temporal control of activity. The research described in this thesis has the potential to revolutionize healthcare by potentially, dramatically reducing side effects and/or resistance.

See also: 

Two light switches combined in one molecule

Antibiotic switch uses visible light