Furman University Department of Chemistry
Jeffrey T. Petty

Jeffrey T. Petty


B.S., Furman University
Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley

Henry Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar (2005-2009)
Email: jeff.petty@furman.edu
Phone: (864) 294-2689

Faculty Research Interests:

The Role of Water on DNA-Drug Complexes

With increasing knowledge about the structure of the human genome, information about the function is needed. We are particularly interested in small molecule drugs, as they offer potential therapeutic value by influencing the regulatory control of genes. While a number of small molecule drugs bind to specific DNA sequences, a higher degree of sequence recognition is needed, thus necessitating a more sound understanding of the factors that contribute to sequence recognition. We are using the osmotic stress approach that is based on the exclusion of solutes from the binding sites of macromolecules. Thus, osmotic pressure drives water from the DNA and its binding sites and perturbs the stability of complexes. We are now studying the sequence and drug dependence of water involvement. Figure adapted from http://www.cbs.umn.edu/~licata/os.html

Silver Nanocluster Synthesis using DNA

Manipulating the size and shape of matter on the nanometer scale offers exciting possibilities. For metals, the transition from bulk material to isolated atoms results in the separation of highly polarizable, continuous, plasmon-supporting bands into discrete energy levels. We are particularly interested in small metal nanoclusters (<10 atoms) and their unique optical and catalytic properties. For example, silver nanoclusters exhibit very strong absorption and emission and high photostability, making them nearly ideal fluorophores with applications in high-density optical data storage and biological labeling. In addition, metal nanoclusters have catalytic activity distinct from bulk metals. Biological molecules offer a route to produce chiral nanoclusters that could act as enantioselective catalysts. We are now studying the sequence dependence of nanocluster synthesis.