Project title: Design of Optimized photo-sensitizers

Employer: Trinity College of Dublin (TCD, Ireland), Cotutelle: University of Amsterdam (UvA, Netherlands)
Supervisors: Prof. Dr. Mathias O. SENGE (TCD), Dr. René WILLIAMS (UvA).

Research secondments: PorphyChem, University of Coimbra, Bioemtech
Practical rotation: Bioemtech

Research project description and main objectives: One ultimate aim of the POLYTHEA project is to develop photosensitizing dyes that can be used in a modular fashion for a variety of biomedical applications within the consortium. This requires an understanding of the fundamental relationship between macrocycle structures, conformation and substitution pattern on the photochemical properties. This project will focus on the design and synthesis of porphyrin-based photosensitizers (PS) with optimized photophysical properties and chemical functionalities suitable for introduction of biological targeting groups and/or for binding to polymeric (nano) carrier materials.

Generally applicable synthetic strategies for unsymmetrically substituted porphyrins, which carry functional groups suitable for subsequent modification will be developed. ABCD-, A2BC- and A2B2-type porphyrins, i.e. porphyrins with meso positions) will be targeted. Depending on the functional groups introduced a modulation of the macrocycle photophysical properties will be achieved through electronic, π-extension, π-modification, and conformational effects on the ring system. They will allow for charge-transfer character (red-shifting the absorption) while a high triplet yield has to be maintained (e.g., by charge recombination to the triplet state). The compounds will be investigated in an interdisciplinary fashion for their spectroscopic and photophysical properties and with regard to their biological up-take.

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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