Undergraduate Research & Scholarships

Erin Li L&S Biological Sciences

Cellular Acetaldehyde Sensing with Reactivity-Based Fluorescent Probe

Acetaldehyde is a highly reactive carbonyl species (RCS) found in the human body as a result of partial alcohol metabolism (1). Increased acetaldehyde levels are often associated with pathologies such as alcoholic liver disease and Alzheimers (2). Despite its toxicity, tools for monitoring acetaldehyde in live specimen are underdeveloped, and current methods rely on the processing and destruction of the intact specimen. My project aims to develop a dye-based probe that utilizes chemical reactivity with acetaldehyde to convert a homoallylamine-functionalized dye platform into its aldehyde conjugate, resulting in a shift in the excitation wavelength. This would provide a ratiometric fluorescence readout, allowing for a non-destructive, highly sensitive and selective method of monitoring acetaldehyde fluxes in living cells. This probe could then be used to study various diseases associated with increased acetaldehyde levels such as alcoholic liver disease and Alzheimers.

Message To Sponsor

Thank you very much for sponsoring my summer research project! This project is something I have been working on for the past year, and I am looking forward to continuing my research throughout the summer. This would not have been possible without your support!
Profile image of Erin Li
Major: Chemistry, Molecular and Cell Biology
Mentor: Christopher Chang
Sponsor: Various
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