Emma ROBBINS



Project Title: Multi-photon absorption photo-sensitizer

Employer: Politechnika Wroclawska (PWR, Poland), Cotutelle: University of Limoges (UNILIM, France)
Supervisors: Dr. Katarzyna MATCZYSZYN (PWR) and Dr. Stéphanie LHEZ (UNILIM)

Research secondments: University of St Andrews, University of Coimbra, BET Solutions,
Practical rotation: BET Solution

Research project description and main objectives: One main issue of the POLYTHEA project is to develop photosensitizing dyes which can be used in a modular fashion for a variety of biomedical applications within the consortium. There are multiple advantages in using NIR light for activating photophysical processes relevant for photodynamic therapies. Thus, one of the crucial issues to be solved is optimizing the efficiency of the sensitizers for absorbing photons through nonlinear optical processes while assuring high quantum yields of formation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) that provide the therapeutic action. This project will focus on the design and systematic evaluation of the nonlinear optical properties of tetrapyrrole-based photosensitizers (PS). In particular, the relevant multiphoton cross sections will be determined over wide ranges of wavelengths to provide the peak values at the optimized wavelengths for the photodynamic treatment as well as the appropriate «merit factor». The main objective of this project is providing the necessary support for the development of novel chromophores and biologically relevant nanosystems with optimized nonlinear optical and photophysical properties. Thus, the project is divided into two parts:
1)      Synthesis of PS with enhanced multiphoton absorption properties
2)      Determination of values of the nonlinear cross section, together with the other pertinent parameters such as quantum yield of ROS production, quantum yield of luminescence and efficiency of photodecomposition;
Thus the data obtained will provide the feedback to the synthetic work. In vitro biological studies will be also conducted and samples will be investigated using nonlinear microscopy.

Background:
She completed her BSc dual honours degree in Chemistry with Human Biology, with a dissertation on stereoselective synthesis of 2,4,5-trisubstituted tetrahydropyrans, at Keele University, UK. During her undergraduate studies she spent 3 months at the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research in Pune, India as part of an exchange program. She completed her MSc degree in Chemistry, based on fullerenes, perylene-bisimides and porphyrins as photosensitizers for the generation and detection of singlet oxygen with applications related to PDT and PACT, at the University of Amsterdam, Netherlands.

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This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Sklodowska-Curie grant agreement n°764837