Ruomei Gao, Ph.D.

Ruomei Gao, Ph.D. 

  • Associate Professor
  • Chemistry and Physics
  • SUNY College at Old Westbury
  • Natural Sciences Building S-258
  • Email: gaor [at]
  • Phone: (516)876-4224


Our research focuses on light-induced chemical reactions that produce reactive oxygen species (ROS), such as singlet oxygen (1O2) and superoxide radicals (O2.-). 1O2 has been recognized as the major cytotoxic species responsible for cell death in photodynamic therapy (PDT). We develop pH-controlled nano-sensitizers that can only be activated in acidic tumor environment, thus are promising drug candidates for selective PDT. Examples are imidazole-modified porphyrins and silica-attached porphyrins. In another study, the formation of ROS upon UVA light irradiation of thiopurine DNA bases is examined. This project provides quantitative information for better understanding of molecular events of thiopurines in a biological system. Time-resolved laser, steady-state photolysis, NMR, HPLC/MS, fluorescence and UV/Visible spectrophotometers are the major instruments used in lab.

Selected Publications

  1. Gao, R., Incorporating Students’ Self-Designed, Research-Based Analytical Chemistry Projects into the Instrumentation Curriculum. J. Chem. Educ. 2015, 92(3), 444-449.
  2. Sunaina Singh; Aggarwal., A.; N. V. S. Dinesh K. Bhupathiraju; Brandon Newton; Ahmad Nafees; Ruomei Gao; Drain, C. M., Synthesis and cell phototoxicity of a triply bridged fused diporphyrin appended with six thioglucose units. Tetrahedron Lett. 2014, 55, 6311-6314.
  3. Michael Quinones; Yazhou Zhang; Penelope Riascos; Huey-Min Hwang; Winfred G. Aker; Xiaojia He; Gao, R., Effects of Light Energy and Reducing Agents on C60-Mediated Photosensitizing Reactions. Photochem. Photobiol. 2014, 90, 374-379.
  4. Amit Aggarwal; Sebastian Thompson; Sunaina Singh; Brandon Newton; Akeem Moore; Ruomei Gao; Xinbin Gu; Sushmita Mukherjee; Drain, C. M., Photophysics of Glycosylated Derivatives of a Chlorin, Isobacteriochlorin and Bacteriochlorin for Photodynamic Theragnostics: Discovery of a Two-photon-absorbing Photosensitizer. Photochem. Photobiol. 2014, 90, 419-430.
  5. Wenbing Li; Wentong Lu; Zhen Fan; Xianchun Zhu; Aisha Reed; Brandon Newton; Yazhou Zhang; Shavelle Courtney; Papireddy T. Tiyyagura; Roslyn R. Ratcliff; Shufang Li; Ebonie Butler; Hongtao Yu; Paresh C. Ray; Gao, R., Enhanced photodynamic selectivity of nano-silica-attached porphyrins against breast cancer cells. J. Mater. Chem. 2012, 22 (25), 12701-12708.
  6. Yazhou Zhang; Xianchun Zhu; Joshua Smith; Makeisha T. Haygood; Gao, R., Direct Observation and Quantitative Characterization of Singlet Oxygen in Aqueous Solution upon UVA Excitation of 6-Thioguanines. J. Phys. Chem. B 2011, 115 (8), 1889-1894.
  7. Yazhou Zhang; Ashley N. Barnes; Xianchun Zhu; Naomi F. Campbell; Gao, R., Quantification of Thiopurine/UVA-Induced Singlet Oxygen Production. J. Photochem. Photobiol A: Chemistry 2011, 224 (1), 16-24. 8. Yazhou Zhang; Ashley N. Barnes; Naomi F. Campbell; Gao, R., 6-Methylthiopurine: A Potential Sensitizer via Excitation-Oxidation-Reduction Cycles. in preparation 2011.
  8. Xianchun Zhu; Wentong Lu; Yazhou Zhang; Aisha Reed; Brandon Newton; Zhen Fan; Hongtao Yu; Paresh C. Ray; Gao, R., Imidazole-Modified Porphyrin As A pH-Responsive Sensitizer for Cancer Photodynamic Therapy. Chem Commun. 2011, 47, 10311-10313.
  9. Amit Aggarwal; Sunaina Singh; Yazhou Zhang; Mariah Anthes; Diana Samaroo; Ruomei Gao; Drain, C. M., Synthesis and photophysics of an octathioglycosylated zinc(II) phthalocyanine. Tetrahedron Letters 2011, 52, 5456-5459.
  10. Sunaina Singh; Amit Aggarwal; Sebastian Thompson; Joo P. C. Tom; Xianchun Zhu; Diana Samaroo; Mikki Vinodu; Ruomei Gao; Drain, C. M., Synthesis and Photophysical Properties of Thioglycosylated Chlorins, Isobacteriochlorins, and Bacteriochlorins for Bioimaging and Diagnostics. Bioconjugate Chem. 2010, 21 (11), 2136-2146.
  11. Wenbing Li; Naveen Gandra; Shavelle N. Courtney; Gao, R., Singlet Oxygen Production upon Two-Photon Excitation of TiO2 in Chloroform. ChemPhysChem 2009, 10 (11), 1789-1793.
  12. Wenbing Li; Naveen Gandra; Erick Ellis; Shavelle N. Courtney; Gao, R., A pH responsive recoverable sensitizer for singlet oxygen production in aqueous solution. ACS Appl. Mater. & Interface 2009, 1 (8), 1778-1784.
  13. Naveen Gandra; Pui Lam Chiu; Wenbing Li; Yolanda R. Anderson; Somenath Mitra; Huixin He; Gao, R., Photosensitized Singlet Oxygen Production upon Two-Photon Excitation of Single-Walled Carbon Nanotubes and Their Functionalized Analogues. J. Phys. Chem. C 2009, 113 (13), 5182-5185.
  14. David Aebisher; Nikolay S. Azar; Matibur Zamadar; Naveen Gandra; Harry D. Gafney; Ruomei Gao; Greer, A., Singlet Oxygen Chemistry in Water. A Porous Vycor Glass-Supported Photosensitizer. J. Phys. Chem. B 2008, 112 (7), 1913-1917.
  15. Peter I. Djurovich; Drew Murphy; Mark E. Thompson; Billy Hernandez; Ruomei Gao; Pasha L. Hunt; Selke, M., Cyclometalated iridium and platinum complexes as singlet oxygen photosensitizers: quantum yields, quenching rates and correlation with electronic structures. Dalton Trans. 2007,  (34), 3763-3770.
  16. Aaron T. Frank; Adebogun Adenike; David Aebisher; Alexander Greer; Ruomei Gao; Liebman, J. F., Paradigms and paradoxes: Energetics of the oxidative cleavage of indigo and of other olefins. Struct. Chem. 2007, 18, 71-74.
  17. Naveen Gandra; Aaron T. Frank; Onica Le Gendre; Nahed Sawwan; David Aebisher; Joel F. Liebman; K. N. Houk; Greer, A.; Gao, R., Possible Singlet Oxygen Generation from the Photolysis of Indigo Dyes in Methanol, DMSO, Water, and Ionic Liquid, 1-Butyl-3-methylimidazolium tetrafluoroborate (invited paper). Tetrahedron 2006, 62 (46), 10771-10776.