- CP2120-CP2130 Principles of Chemistry I and II Labs
- CP3400 Analytical Chemistry Lectures/Labs
- CP4800 Advanced Chemical Methods Lectures/Labs
Postdoctoral Researcher, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and California State University at Los Angeles
Ph.D. in Analytical Chemistry, University of Science and Technology of China
- NSF-IUSE grant: “Developing Undergraduate Scientists through Inquiry-Based Chemistry Laboratories” (September 2016 – August 2020), Role: PI
- The user proposals at the Center for Functional Nanomaterials at Brookhaven National Laboratory between 2014 and 2021, Role: PI
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). The pH-controlled sensitizers can be activated in acidic tumor environment, thus are promising drug candidates for selective PDT. Examples developed in our lab include imidazole-modified porphyrins (Figure 1) and silica nanoparticle-attached porphyrins. In another study, the formation of ROS is examined upon UVA light irradiation of thiopurine DNA bases. This project provides quantitative information on the production of 1O2 and O2.- for better understanding of molecular events of thiopurines in a biological system (Figure 2). Time-resolved laser, steady-state photolysis, NMR, HPLC/MS, fluorescence, and UV/Visible spectrophotometers are the major instruments used in lab.
Selected scientific publications with undergraduates
- Euceda, N.; Jahnke, J.; Espinal, A.; Louis, M. F.; Bashkin, E.; Roccanova, P.; Espaillat, A.; Fuentes, G. V.; Nieto, F.; Gao, R., Thioguanine restoration through type I photosensitization-superoxide oxidation-glutathione reduction cycles. Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics 2021, 23 (9), 5069-5073.
- Fuentes, G. V.; Doucet, E. N.; Abraham, A.; Rodgers, N. K.; Alonso, F.; Euceda, N.; Quinones, M. H.; Riascos, P. A.; Pierre, K.; Sarker, N. H.; Dhar-Mascareno, M.; Cotlet, M.; Kisslinger, K.; Camino, F.; Li, M.; Lu, F.; Gao, R., Nanocomposite liposomes for pH-controlled porphyrin release into human prostate cancer cells. RSC Advances 2020, 10 (29), 17094-17100.
- Quinones, M.; Zhang, Y.; Riascos, P.; Hwang, H.-M.; Aker, W. G.; He, X.; Gao, R., Effects of Light Energy and Reducing Agents on C60-Mediated Photosensitizing Reactions. Photochemistry and Photobiology 2014, 90 (2), 374-379.
- Li, W.; Lu, W.; Fan, Z.; Zhu, X.; Reed, A.; Newton, B.; Zhang, Y.; Courtney, S.; Tiyyagura, P. T.; Ratcliff, R. R.; Li, S.; Butler, E.; Yu, H.; Ray, P. C.; Gao, R., Enhanced photodynamic selectivity of nano-silica-attached porphyrins against breast cancer cells. Journal of Materials Chemistry 2012, 22 (25), 12701-12708.
- Zhu, X.; Lu, W.; Zhang, Y.; Reed, A.; Newton, B.; Fan, Z.; Yu, H.; Ray, P. C.; Gao, R., Imidazole-modified porphyrin as a pH-responsive sensitizer for cancer photodynamic therapy. Chemical Communications 2011, 47 (37), 10311-10313.
Selected education publications with colleagues
- Gao, R.; Lloyd, J.; Cardinal, J., Argumentative Writing Workshop for Conceptual Learning and Weekly Writing for Knowledge Application in Undergraduate Chemistry Laboratories. Journal of College Science Teaching 2022, Accepted.
- Gao, R.; Lloyd, J.; Emenike, B. U.; Quarless, D.; Kim, Y.; Emenike, M. E., Using Guiding Questions to Promote Scientific Practices in Undergraduate Chemistry Laboratories. Journal of Chemical Education 2021, 98 (12), 3731-3738.
- Gao, R.; Lloyd, J.; Kim, Y., A Desirable Combination for Undergraduate Chemistry Laboratories: Face-to-Face Teaching with Computer-Aided, Modifiable Program for Grading and Assessment. Journal of Chemical Education 2020, 97 (9), 3028-3032.
- Gao, R.; Lloyd, J., Precision and Accuracy: Knowledge Transformation through Conceptual Learning and Inquiry-Based Practices in Introductory and Advanced Chemistry Laboratories. Journal of Chemical Education 2020, 97 (2), 368-373.
- Gao, R., Incorporating Students’ Self-Designed, Research-Based Analytical Chemistry Projects into the Instrumentation Curriculum. Journal of Chemical Education 2015, 92 (3), 444-449.