Masters Theses

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science



Major Professor

Michael Best

Committee Members

David Baker, Jon Camden


Carbohydrates are known to play a large number of significant roles in various biological and pathological processes such as cancer metastasis and cellular communication. This is because of their ability to bind a wide range of hosts within the human body such as proteins and viruses. Due to these important interactions, carbohydrate sensing has long been a main focus of research. These research strategies have included the use of aptamers, non-covalent interactions, and boronic acid-based receptors. Boronic acid-based sensors are of particular interest due to their selectivity for 1,2- or 1,3-diols. Within these boronic acid-based studies, a large variety of techniques were employed for detection including different fluorescent, electrochemical, polymeric, and colorimetric studies, as well as various surface bound sensors. One type of technique that has rarely been applied is Surface Enhanced Raman Spectroscopy or SERS. This strategy would be beneficial as it provides information about functional groups, which would aid in the identification of the bound sugar. In this thesis, we present work based on the development of a boronic acid-based carbohydrate receptor that will be used to study carbohydrate binding through SERS. The receptor design includes an aryl boronic acid for carbohydrate recognition, a nitrogen atom in close proximity to the boron center to enhance binding, and a terminal thiol for attachment to a metal surface for SERS. This sensor will be used to study the binding of different saccharides for sensing applications.

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Included in

Biochemistry Commons