Paul B. Jones
Description of Research
I am interested in studying how photochemistry is used in nature and in developing photochemical methods to generate synthetically and medically significant products. Because most organisms depend directly on photochemical processes for their survival, photochemistry is essential to life on earth. The chemistry of photosynthesis and vision are the best examples of this, but many species have more subtle life processes (e.g. circadian rhythms) that rely on photochemistry. In nature, photochemical pathways are well regulated and, like most biochemical pathways, generate specific products. In the laboratory, however, photochemical reactions often yield a variety of products with little or no regio- or stereoselectivity. Specificity in photochemical reactions is achieved in biochemical systems by steric and electronic control of the chromophore and of the molecules with which the excited chromophore interacts. Using these systems as a model, I intend to study how photochemistry can be used to control biological systems and how structure and reaction conditions can be used to direct photochemical reaction pathways.