Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name


Degree Program




Major Professor

Tarr, Matthew A.

Second Advisor

Cole, Richard B.

Third Advisor

Cai, Yang

Fourth Advisor

Jursic, Branko

Fifth Advisor

Trudell, Mark


Numerous chemical species are important to the health of biological systems. Some species can be beneficial at low doses and harmful at high doses. Other species are highly reactive and trigger serious cell damage. Improved methods to detect the presence and activity of such species are needed. In this work, several biologically important species were studied using appropriate analytical techniques. Fluoride is an important species in human physiology. It strengthens teeth and gives protection against dental caries. However, elevated concentrations of fluoride in the body can lead to health problems such as dental and skeletal fluorosis. Reported fluoride sensors used fluorescence quenching methods in determining fluoride concentration. Our study explored synthesis and characterization of 1,8-bis(phenylthioureido) naphthalene (compound 1) as a fluoride sensing molecule. Compound 1 showed a remarkable 40 fold enhancement in fluorescence with 5 eq of fluoride addition. Compound 1 also showed possibility of visual colorimetric sensing with fluoride. Free radical mediated oxidations of biomolecules are responsible for different pathological conditions in the human body. Superoxide is generated in cells and tissues during oxidative burst. Moderately reactive superoxide is converted to peroxyl, alkoxyl and hydroxyl radicals by various enzymatic, chemical, and biochemical processes. Hydroxyl radical imparts rapid, non specific oxidative damage to biomolecules such as proteins and lipids. Superoxide also reacts with nitric oxide in cells to yield peroxynitrite, which is highly reactive and damages biomolecules. Both hydroxyl radical and peroxynitrite readily react with amino acids containing aromatic side chains. Low density lipoprotein (LDL) carries cholesterol in the human body. Elevated concentration of LDL is a potential risk factor for atherosclerosis. Previous research drew a strong correlation between oxidized low density lipoprotein (ox-LDL) and plaque formation in the arterial wall. More importantly, oxidative damage causes structural changes to the LDL protein (apo B-100) which might facilitate the uptake of LDL by macrophages. In this study LDL was exposed to various concentrations of hydroxyl radical peroxynitrite and hypochlorite. Thereafter oxidized amino acid residues in apo B-100 were mapped by LC-MS/MS methods. We found widely distributed oxidative modifications in the apo B-100 amino acid sequence.


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